Thompson met with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Tuesday.
(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Tuesday that while drilling for oil in Florida’s Everglades would be “drastic,” he won’t rule it out.
At a press availability in Tallahassee with Florida’s Republican governor Charlie Crist, Thompson was asked whether oil should be drilled in the famous ecosystem if large reserves were discovered there.
“Well, gosh. Nobody has told me that there are any major reserves in the Everglades, but maybe that’s one of the things I need to learn while I’m down here,” Thompson responded.
Crist quickly jumped in. “We’d rather not do that,” he said.
“I’m not going to start by taking this, that, or the other off the table in terms of our overall energy situation,” Thompson said. “We’ve got to do better in terms of nuclear. We’ve got to do better in terms of finding environmentally friendly ways to use coal, which we have plenty of.”
The Everglades is a vast subtropical marshland that comprises much of South Florida. In 2002, the Department of Interior announced plans to purchase oil and gas rights for a large tract of the region, which is estimated to hold nearly 40 billion barrels of oil. The Department’s actions have effectively protected the land from drilling.
- CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman