The Shifting Politics of Oil: GOP Candidate for Governor Bill McCollum

TAMPA (2010-07-01) -

Attorney General and GOP candidate Bill McCollum says he opposes offshore drilling, but believes there is no need for a ban in the state constitution.

Before the Spill:

Between 1990 and today, McCollum received more donations from the oil and gas industry than anyone else in Congress: $112,597, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In 2008, McCollum said he opposed drilling in Florida's coastal waters:

McCollum said oil companies have plenty of land in the gulf they’re not using for drilling. McCollum said drilling in Florida won’t have a real impact on gas prices.

“Any kind of whole sale opening of the coast line of Florida to drilling is unnecessary to the bottom line to the energy needs of our country,” said McCollum.

~ Capitol News Service 7/1/08

After the spill:

McCollum says he would veto any proposal to expand drilling off Florida's shores, but he says there is no need to pass a state Constitutional amendment to ban drilling.

“I would hate to see us restrict in the Constitution all kinds of new scientific options that may come along,” he said. "Whoever it is drafting it, it needs to be really well thought-out. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but it certainly reflects the feelings that all of us share.”

~ Orlando Sentinel, 5/11/10

It's unclear how McCollum feels today about raising the cap on damages oil companies enjoy. McCollum voted for the cap in 1990, when Congress approved it. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson wants to raise the ceiling to $10 billion.

He says a lawsuit filed under state law would not fall prey to the federal cap.

~ 5/6/10

The attorney general has used his position as attorney general to dispatch a handful of officials to help Florida businesses with their legal claims against BP.

Mr. McCollum has also appeared several times in the Panhandle. At one point, at a news conference with a local Republican congressman, he held up a glass jar of brown, slimy tar.

“I’m frustrated,” Mr. McCollum said in an interview, asking why the Obama administration had not hired a Florida company offering oil-eating microbes, or why every available boat was not being used for cleanup.

“The overall impact is going to continue for a long time,” Mr. McCollum said.

~ 6/30/10

CLICK HERE to listen to Bill McCollum comment on his stance.

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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