On the heels of rising gasoline and natural gas prices, the House Resources Committee passed legislation yesterday related to oil and natural gas drilling. A key provision to this legislation would transfer power to state legislatures to expand or diminish the coastal buffer zone.

Just last month, the House was close to approving a measure that would have allowed natural gas drilling three miles off the Atlantic Coast. I represent 70 miles of that coast and I am extremely relieved the measure was narrowly defeated. Last month's close vote demonstrated how Florida's bargaining position is melting like snow in August.

I believe Florida's delegation should support this new deal out of the Resources Committee so that we will not have to stare at drilling platforms three miles off of our coast. Tourism and the environment are too important to our great state to allow close coastal drilling.

This is a very good deal for Floridians and I do not see any scenario in the near future in which my former colleagues in Tallahassee would allow drilling within 100 miles of Florida.