Public Hearing on Offshore Oil Drilling

Environmentalists were out in force at the state capital in Tallahassee Thursday telling the feds to keep oil rigs out of Florida waters.

The U.S. Department of Interior held a public hearing in on its plan to allow oil and gas drilling in another two million acres off the Gulf Coast.

Holly Binns with the Florida Public Interest Research Group says the plan is a threat to Florida beaches and the state's tourist economy.

“Our message to the Interior Department today is simple. Floridians urge you: don't rig Florida's future. And we stand firmly opposed to new offshore oil and gas drilling off of our coast. The bottom line is this: offshore drilling is dirty, it's dangerous and it doesn't deliver."

David Mica is with the Florida Petroleum Council and says, "I think many Floridians are now beginning to say, 'Hey, if they can withstand a hurricane, and they can do this in an environmentally safe way, let's do it, especially if I don't have to look at it and we're talking about a significant distance off shore.’"

Officials from the Department of Interior spent two hours taking testimony and the vast majority of the speakers were against the plan.

The governor, both U.S. senators and 79 state lawmakers also went on record against the drilling proposal.