ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — While there is a state statute against drilling off Florida’s coast, Amendment 9 would put that ban in the state’s constitution. It would also ban vaping in the workplace.
Susan Glickman with The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says the beaches have to be protected.
“More and more we are seeing electric vehicles and cars becoming more efficient and we just simply do not need to risk our precious coastline to drill for oil and gas so close to the shore,” she said.
Opponents of Amendment 9 like the Florida Petroleum Council say because there is already a law in place, there’s no reason to change the constitution.
“The last well in that was drilled in Florida waters that the state has jurisdiction over was actually approved way back during the Bob Graham administration,” said David Mica of the Florida Petroleum Council.
Amendment 9 also includes adding vaping to a ban on workplace smoking. But critics say vaping shouldn’t be tied to oil drilling.
“People know that those are totally unrelated and in fact, most editorial boards are opening against the amendment because they are so unrelated,” said Mica.
“It’s really about clean air and clean water. No one should have to choose between a paycheck and breathing clean air,” said Glickman.
Voters already banned smoking in workplaces and restaurants in 2002, but that was before vaping became so prevalent.
As for the drilling ban, it would include nine nautical miles on Gulf of Mexico side and three on the Atlantic side.