Stating that Floridians “deserve a thoughtful and deliberative conversation free of rancor or hyperbole,” Senate President Jeff Atwater (R-North Palm Beach) on November 9, 2009 ordered the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee to conduct a “detailed and comprehensive review of the implications of offshore drilling.” Sen. Atwater stated that while the initial findings of the review might be available before the start of the 2010 legislative session in March 2010, “this analysis will be driven by the need for a dispassionate review, not timelines or schedules.”
Participating in the review will be the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, the Legislature's Division of Economic and Demographic Research, and the Institute for Energy Systems, Economics, and Sustainability at Florida State University.
Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee Chair Lee Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs) is known for his strong commitment to environmental issues. He said that the decision to assign the review to his committee sends “a serious message,” adding that the review “will be primarily about how best we can protect Florida's resources, not about how much we can drill for and how fast ….Oil drilling is far from being definite in Florida.”
Business interests, including Associated Industries of Florida and Florida Energy Associates, a consortium of independent oil producers, have supported efforts to put drilling on the agenda for the next legislative session, which begins in March 2010. State House leadership has generally supported those efforts, but Sen. Constantine denied that the purpose of the review was to delay legislative action on offshore drilling.