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BP Gives Florida $25 Million Grant as Oil Approaches State

Posted on June 3, 2010

British Petroleum is making a peace offering to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is working with Visit Florida to brainstorm an ad campaign to keep tourists flocking to Florida beaches. Florida officials are reportedly disappointed that the BP grant is only for $25 million, according to a St. Petersburg Times report.

In a statement, Crist bragged that “Florida continues to be a great value for families, business travelers, and international visitors seeking an enjoyable vacation experience. In spite of negative images and reports people may be hearing about Florida’s beaches and fishing grounds, this campaign will tell the world how they can see live images of Florida beaches and businesses.”

Given that oil is still spewing from the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster with no immediate end in sight as BP unsuccessfully tries capping and containment operations, the President is sending out another signal. Standing with former Senator Bob Graham, who opposes drilling, the president vowed to punish those responsible for the worse environmental catastrophe in history.

But Mr. Obama signaled he wants to make drilling for oil safer, not prohibit it. And President Obama is disappointing many by saying that no new drilling will take place until new regulations are put in place that would prevent any future catastrophes.

That is a disappointment to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor from Tampa who has said that building rigs close to Florida’s beaches appears to be a dead proposition. Sen. Bill Nelson said, “The White House needs to bag this ill-advised plan to expand drilling in new areas along the Gulf Coast.” Nelson notes that the Gulf only contains about three percent of the world’s oil, not enough to even put a dent in our dependence on foreign oil.

Some Florida Coast oil spill lawyers and residents of the state have questioned whether or not there will ever be enough trust in another giant oil company to allow drilling off U.S. shores. And eventually, one day when the leak in the Gulf is stopped, that will be the question before a presidential study commission, co-chaired by Sen. Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency director William Reilly. Lifting a moratorium on future drilling would require cooperation from Congress.