June 2009 Archives

Group wants offshore drilling on ballot

Published: May 31, 2009

TALLAHASSEE - A group of activists intend to launch a petition initiative to place the issue of offshore oil drilling before voters in 2010. FloridaOil.org plans to ask Florida voters to lift the state ban and kick-start a new offshore drilling industry for the state.

"The people have spoken loud and clear; they support this," said Don Baldauf of Bradenton, head of the small but growing FloridaOil.org, which has members and volunteers sprinkled across 10 counties.

Baldauf, who runs a small business installing security systems, mounted an unsuccessful run without party affiliation for the District 13 seat in Congress last year. Now he plans to ask voters in 2010 to lift Florida's 20-year ban on drilling in state waters, and mandate Florida build an offshore oil and gas industry. "Whatever it takes to start drilling and pumping," he said.

details of his ballot question - or questions - are in the works. Baldauf has registered his organization, which has fledgling chapters in Pinellas and Leon counties, with the state Division of Elections and has is talking with an attorney he declined to name about ballot language to submit to the state this summer.

That places the initiative on a tight timeline, and Baldauf has barely begun fundraising. But he hopes oil and gas interests will back him financially to put the effort on the fast track. Making the 2010 ballot requires 676,811 valid signatures by Feb. 1.

Read the rest of this piece at Tampa Bay Online