WASHINGTON - The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) today announced that Gov. Jeb Bush has joined Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) on the Florida Varsity Flip-Flop Team with his sudden reversal on coastal drilling. Now a supporter of drilling rigs off Florida beaches, Gov. Bush had in the past said "there will be no drilling in the Lease Sale 181 Area off the coast of Florida under my watch." ("Gov. Bush reverses stance, now supports oil drilling rigs in eastern Gulf of Mexico," Orlando Sentinel, 10/5/05).
With a possible vote in the House on new energy legislation in the coming weeks, LCV also calls on Rep. Harris to clarify her own inconsistent position on drilling for oil off the Sunshine State coast.
This past April, Rep. Harris voted for an energy bill that could have paved the way for drilling off Florida's coast by weakening an important safeguard against new drilling projects, the Coastal Zone Management Act. Then, in a political makeover after deciding to seek higher office, she introduced a largely symbolic bill to ban drilling off Florida's coasts and voted against the final energy bill.
Most recently Rep. Harris contradicted herself when her spokesperson said that "the congresswoman's position is firm [against drilling]." In the next paragraph of the same news story, Rep. Harris left open the door to allowing oil drilling just over 100 miles from Florida's coastlines, when she said she was "willing to listen" to arguments by drilling proponents ("Florida could bow to drilling," Orlando Sentinel, 9/19/05).
"With yesterday's comments, Gov. Bush joins Rep. Katherine Harris on the Florida varsity flip-flop team," said LCV Florida Campaign Manager Shirin Bidel-Niyat. "As the debate about a new energy bill moves forward in Congress in the coming weeks, the question for Rep. Harris is: will you side with Florida families who want to protect the state's coasts or with the oil industry and Gov. Bush who would rather erect drilling rigs?"