Florida Approves a Deal to Avert Oil Drilling off the Coast
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. After a 15-year legal battle, Gov. Jeb Bush and the Cabinet approved a $12.5 million deal Wednesday to prevent oil drilling in Florida's coastal waters.
Coastal Petroleum, the company that holds the last of the offshore drilling leases the state issued in the 1940s, will receive the money in exchange for dropping efforts to drill along the state's west coast.
Coastal has fought to be compensated -- or allowed to drill -- since 1990, the year the state banned offshore drilling.
The company once sought a much larger settlement, but recent court decisions taking the state's side against Coastal led to the relatively modest transaction.
Bush applauded the agreement, and said he hopes the state's protections -- which extend up to 11 miles offshore -- will eventually be applied to federal waters farther out at sea.
The deal is a victory for Bush, who has fought to prevent drilling off Florida, even while his brother President Bush has tried to expand oil exploration in other states.
Source: Associated Press