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Jeb Bush: Hindsight on oil drilling is 20/20
SOURCE: Keynoter
Margaret Menge
July 16 2008

With current knowledege, former governor would have favored it

Jeb Bush told the Keynoter this week that if he'd known while he was Florida's governor that oil would spike above $4.30 a gallon in the Keys, he would have been in favor of drilling for oil off Florida's coast.

In an e-mail to the Keynoter, he that "had I known that gas was going to be $4.30 per gallon, as I stated, I would have supported a lifting of the moratorium with proper safeguards."

The former governor's disclosure came the same day his brother, President George Bush, announced he was lifting the executive ban on offshore drilling in the United States. Jeb Bush was a strong supporter of maintaining the federal ban on offshore drilling during his two terms as governor, from 1998 to 2006.

The executive ban was put in place by former President George Bush in 1990. A congressional moratorium on offshore drilling is still in place, though it must be renewed annually.

Florida also has a state ban on drilling off its coasts, though Gov. Charlie Crist said last month he's now in favor of offshore drilling, indicating that in Florida, oil might some day become a major industry.

Florida is the only one of the Gulf states that is not drilling for oil offshore.

Offshore rigs operate off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, part of an area exempt from the federal moratoriums. The second most productive oil fields in the world lie under the Bay of Campeche, in the southern Gulf of Mexico, and contribute two-thirds of the oil Mexico produces.

Asked if he regretted his support of the moratorium on offshore drilling, Jeb Bush said he didn't, but that he would have done things differently if he'd known then what would happen to the price of oil.

It takes about 10 years for a company to begin producing oil after leasing tracts offshore -- two years for exploration and mapping and a number of years to secure government permits.

Learn more about alternative forms of energy and the American oil consumption addiction.