Offshore drilling isn't just an environmental issue for Gulf states, it's a political one, and it's now figuring prominently in Florida's multi-way Senate race.
After Gov. Charlie Crist called for a special legislative session to ask lawmakers for a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling, Republican candidate Marco Rubio is criticizing him for it. Rubio supports drilling and has warned that, if the U.S. doesn't drill in the Gulf, China or Cuba will.
Here's his statement today on Crist's request for a legislative session:
"The Obama/Crist response to the oil spill has been a total failure and Florida families and businesses are suffering because of it. This special session is nothing more than a political sideshow that will do nothing to help Panhandle businesses, keep oil off our beaches, or prevent future spills. In fact, Charlie Crist seeks to ban something that is already illegal under state law. We don't need more photo ops and finger pointing. We need leadership."Every available clean-up skimmer in the world should be along our Gulf coast right now. After two months, there is no reason we don't have containment boom and barriers protecting every vulnerable beach. We need strong leadership that will challenge government to do more before it's too late. Instead, Charlie Crist seems more focused on releasing birds than releasing skimmers."We all agree that the Gulf oil spill is a tremendous tragedy that must never be repeated. But drilling is going to happen off our coast whether it's done by America, China and Cuba, which just last week announced plans to drill 60 miles off the Florida Keys. We still need safer and smarter offshore energy exploration to end our addiction to foreign oil."
Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.