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Amendment bad business for our coast

Here we go again.

“SENATE PANEL OKS DRILLING IN EASTERN GULF”

Wednesday’s Bradenton Herald front page headline made you shake your head.

Will this never end?

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee did Big Oil’s bidding last week, voting to allow drilling 10miles from the Panhandle beaches and 45 from our own.

Big Oil is relentless.

The 2006 Congressional ban on new drilling within 125 miles of us?

Pffft.

The Florida Senate’s deep six of last April’s 11th-hour bill for near-shore drilling?

Out of the way.

Big Oil will continue to spend and lobby until it gets what it wants.

Look, I understand our need to be independent of OPEC’s volatility, but I don’t buy the spiel this is the noble mission that drives the expertise and resources of U.S. giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

It’s about billions.

If this latest gambit from Capitol Hill meant a welcome drop in gas prices in the near future, I might think twice about it.

But I’m not that stupid.

The gouging will go on.

On a state level, if it translated into an additional revenue stream, a much needed transfusion for Florida’s anemic budget, I might think twice about it, too.

Forget that.

Know how much the state stands to benefit monetarily from this proposed plan?

Zip.

Nada.

N-o-t-h-i-n-g.

According to news accounts, the amendment excludes states from getting any revenue generated by oil drilling off their pristine shores.

What a raw deal.

Our elected leaders are going to allow the environmentally vulnerable Gulf Coast of Florida’s tourist-driven economy to be even more compromised by offshore drilling without any compensation for the state?

I don’t think so.

That tells us all we need to know about Big Oil and its pervasive political influence.

Our state’s representatives need to stand up and fight this legislation.

As an Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce official put it, all we have are our beaches.

Keep Big Oil far away.

Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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