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Even Rep. Katherine Harris Admits She "Flip-Flops" on Offshore Drilling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chuck Porcari, (202) 785-8683; Mark Sokolove, (202) 785-8683 February 7, 2006  

ORLANDO, FL - The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) today strongly criticized Rep. Harris' most recent comments as further evidence of her appalling lack of credibility on one of the most important concerns for Florida - offshore drilling.

The February 3rd edition of the Tampa Tribune reported that even Representative Katherine Harris (FL-13) admits that she has flip-flopped on the critical issue of protecting Florida's coasts from offshore drilling.  Rep. Harris said that "she considered herself a hard-line drilling opponent until she backed the [Rep. Pombo-Gov. Jeb Bush] compromise" last November. 

"Rep. Harris did exactly what we've been saying for months - she acknowledged that she has, in fact, continually flip-flopped on the issue of protecting Florida's coasts from offshore drilling," said LCV FL Campaign Manager Shirin Bidel-Niyat.  "While Senators Nelson and Martinez are fighting everyday to protect Florida's beaches and coastal communities from oil drilling, including their most recent proposal for real, permanent protection, Rep. Harris is again playing pure politics.  She offers nice-sounding lip service on the issue and then turns around and contradicts herself to appease big oil special interests.  Rep. Harris lacks credibility and leadership when it comes to this important issue for our state."

Rep. Harris' most recent comments come after she had already vacillated on offshore drilling last year.  First, she supported the House Energy bill (H.R. 6), which weakens an important safeguard for Florida against new drilling projects, the Coastal Zone Management Act. Then, in a campaign makeover after announcing her run for the U.S. Senate, she issued statements in opposition to congressional efforts to move drilling closer to Florida's western coast.

FLIP: Rep. Harris voted to pave the way for drilling off Florida's coast when she supported a House energy bill that "would weaken a state's ability to fight offshore drilling." [St. Petersburg Times, 5/20/05]

FLOP: Then, after a campaign makeover, Rep. Harris said she was against drilling closer to Florida's coast and said that she would "never waiver in the fight to protect Florida's environment and natural resources." [Associated Press, 6/14/05;]

FLIP: Now, Rep. Harris readily admits she waivers on this issue when she said "she considered herself a hard-line drilling opponent until she backed the [Rep. Pombo-Gov. Jeb Bush] compromise rejected last fall by [Senators] Martinez and Nelson."  [Tampa Tribune, 2/3/06]

Read LCV's fact sheet outlining Rep. Harris' flip-flopping on offshore oil drilling: Rep. Harris Flip Flop Facts 02.07.06

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