Castor Files Amendment to Transportation Bill to Protect Jobs and Florida’s Economy
Majority of Florida Delegation Joins to Prevent Harmful Gulf Drilling Expansion
Feb 14, 2012 -
Today U.S. House Rules Committee will consider an amendment filed by U.S. Representative Kathy Castor to stop the harmful expansion of offshore oil drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Castor is joined by a bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers in opposition to the Republican leadership proposal to bring rigs close to Florida beaches.
“New oil drilling near the Florida beaches is a threat to jobs and Florida’s economy. We cannot allow oil rigs to be erected within miles of Florida’s beautiful shoreline,” Castor said. “Such policy would have dire consequences for jobs, tourism, fishing, and related businesses and is an affront to the citizens of Florida while the havoc of the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout is still fresh in our minds.”
H.R. 7, the Transportation Reauthorization Bill, contains a provision that would gut the 125-mile buffer off the west coast of the State of Florida that was instituted in 2006 as a compromise agreement in the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act (GOMESA). Castor’s amendment would remove the language from the bill that requires leasing in New Offshore Areas for the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. H.R. 7 is likely to be considered by the full House this week.
“In Florida, our economy is based upon thriving tourism and fishing businesses and we have not industrialized our coastline,” Castor said. “Many of my Florida colleagues recognize the threat to our economy and jobs and have joined together to fight this dangerous effort for offshore drilling expansion.”
Florida’s tourism, fish and wildlife, ports, and defense related industries generate over $175 billion in economic benefits and over 2.2 million jobs for Floridians per year. The proposed new leases in the Gulf would only produce $110 million per year.
“The justification for continuing the 125-mile buffer and the 2006 agreement are even clearer now following the 2010 BP Oil Disaster,” Castor said. “Dismantling GOMESA and expanding offshore drilling closer to Florida’s coast would have catastrophic effects on Florida’s economy and jobs.”
Castor has been a champion for Florida’s recovery from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. She sent a letter to Speaker Boehner on Friday calling on him to remove the harmful provisions from the Transportation bill and protect Florida’s economy.