The Shifting Politics of Oil: Rep. Gus Bilirakis

Rep. Gus Bilirakis
In 2008, Rep. Gus Bilirakis led the "drill, baby, drill" chant during a Sarah Palin visit.
TAMPA (2010-06-22) -

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, was a staunch supporter of offshore drilling as an alternative to imported oil.

After the spill, he says he is still pro-drilling, but he has proposed a temporary halt of drilling and a reassessment of how close it could be to Florida's coast.

Before the spill: Bilirakis supported drilling to reduce the U.S. dependency on foreign oil, as long as it was further than 10 miles off shore.

"With advanced technologies, I am convinced that we can produce more of our own energy and protect our environment at the same time," Bilirakis said at the time.

~ Sun Coast News, 5/4/10

In 2008, during a visit to the beach by then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Bilirakis sand ANWAR should be opened for drilling and led the crowd in the "Drill, Baby, Drill" chant.

~ WUSF Public Broadcasting, 6/8/10

After the spill: Bilirakis says he is against a ban in new drilling. He called for a "pause" in drilling, and said the boundaries may have to be pushed farther away from shore.

"But I think we're going to have to drill as long as it's safe," he said.

~ St. Petersburg Times, 5/20/10

From "Drill, Baby, Drill" to "Spill, Baby, Spill" - the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf has some elected leaders and political candidates scrambling to point out their opposition to offshore drilling - even if they once thought it was a good idea. WUSF has determined where our politicians stood before, and where they stand now on oil drilling.

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