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Big Oil Prevails over Citizens in Florida

I don’t typically use my “work” site to wax political, but as a Florida citizen, I am angry.

I feel betrayed, let down, and insulted.  The Florida Audubon , along with many other outraged citizens and groups, reported on the travesty of a Special Session to give voters a voice in November on banning drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – a session that wasn’t held today:

Rather than consider the measure, the House decided it would rather not let the people vote. In a strategy described by some as “gavel and go,” the House convened and a majority voted to adjourn without taking up the constitutional amendment resolution. See how your representative voted here (a “yes” vote was a vote to adjourn the session without considering the drilling ban amendment. “No” votes wanted the issue to be heard.) [I’ve also appended the list as a jpg at left]

The Florida Senate convened shortly before the House adjourned, discussed the issue briefly and also voted to adjourn without considering the matter. Senators including Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland), Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey), and bill sponsor Alex Villalobos (R-Miami) dissented that the public deserved for them to vote on the constitutional amendment, even if it could not be placed on the ballot without House concurrence. Nevertheless, the Senate voted to adjourn without a vote on the drilling ban.

According to the Times Buzz, “The Florida Senate voted 18-16 to end Gov. Charlie Crist’s special session on oil drilling after a contentious debate that pitted Republicans against Republicans.

“Sen. Alex Villalobos, who filed the drilling ban bill, made a motion to end the Senate session after learning that the House had already adjoined. “I can’t prevail because they left,” he said.”

Speaking with respect to my own representative, I’m proud that Kevin Ambler , a Republican able to look beyond party lines for this vital issue, voted no, against adjourning.

House Speaker Larry Cretul‘s response to my letter urging him to please allow a vote to go through  (and no doubt to countless other letter writers), rings more hollow and disingenuous now than it did when I first received it: “Your input is vitally important to me, and you can be sure my staff and I will take it to heart.

What heart? Larry Cretul’s  heart is self-serving, beating only for  his own ambitions, and not for the needs of the state citizens he purports to serve.

I am angry!  I have no plans to give up my voice on this issue, and I urge others who feel strongly about ending drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to continue speaking out as well. The Legislature works for us, and in November, when incumbents are wooing their constituents, I’ll be out there with a lot of other angry Floridians, helping voters remember how their representatives didn’t trust them to make their own decisions about our shared future.

Remember that as the tar balls keep washing up on the beach.


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