While oil from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig has yet to reach Florida's shores, the disaster has already caused political leaders to consider a special legislative session. On May 6, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist told reporters that he was considering calling the Legislature into session to propose adding a ban on offshore drilling to the Florida Constitution. State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate for governor, indicated her support for the concept of a constitutional ban, saying that the timing may now be right.
Attorney General Bill McCollum, the leading Republican candidate for governor, did not comment on the possibility of a constitutional amendment, but did say that the state may need to sue if the owner of the well, BP PLC, does not take financial responsibility. McCollum said, “We recognize that BP has stated publicly that it will live up to its obligation to pay all claims arising from this environmental and economic disaster. We hope that BP will. But we would be remiss in our responsibilities if we did not consider the possibility that enforcement or litigation efforts will be required in the future.”
Meanwhile, the Legislature's two most prominent advocates of offshore drilling have declared that authorization of offshore drilling will not be considered in upcoming sessions. Rep. Dean Cannon (R-Orlando), who will become Speaker of the House after the November 2010 elections, assuming the Republicans maintain their majority, described the Deepwater Horizon disaster as a “game changer” and said that the question of allowing offshore drilling was “permanently tabled.” His Senate counterpart, Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos (R-Melbourne), said, “I want to know what happened, because I was told there were redundancies … . We were assured that there would not be major problems like this. I'm not willing to risk Florida's energy future, let along our economic future, to something that is not absolutely proven.”