With President Trump signing a new executive order to open the Atlantic Ocean and the area around Florida for more drilling, members of both chambers of Congress from Florida want to protect against that expansion.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is joining Representatives Debbie Wassermann Schultz and Ted Deutch in trying to come up with ways to shield Florida’s coasts from offshore drilling.
Right now, there is a no-drilling zone that reaches 125 miles off of Florida’s gulf coasts and it lasts until 2022. Nelson has filed legislation to keep that ban in place for an additional five years.
“Drilling off Florida’s coast threatens the state’s multi-billion dollar, tourism-driven economy that’s dependent on clean beaches and pollution-free water,” said Sen. Nelson in a statement. “That’s why I will continue to fight any attempt to lift the current moratorium on drilling in the Gulf and keep oil rigs off of Florida’s coasts.”
Wasserman Schultz will file a similar bill in the House, where it is co-sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Sarasota.
“We do not have bipartisan agreement on many issues these days. But in Florida, we are almost completely united in opposing drilling off our coasts," said Wasserman Schultz.
“Florida’s coastal communities depend on a clean and healthy ocean and we shouldn’t jeopardize the state’s economy or environment by gambling on drilling operations that lack adequate safeguards,”Buchanan said.
Those against the drilling point to the Deep Water Horizons explosion that took place in 2010 offshore in the Gulf of Mexico as a reason why drilling should not be expanded. The Trump administration says it would increase supply and lower prices for consumers.