Press Release

Florida congressional delegation united in opposing drilling off state's coast

Unanimous bipartisan support is rare in Washington, but the stakes are high for Florida, it’s economy and natural environment

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Washington, March 1, 2019 | comments
U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor (FL14), Francis Rooney (FL19) and the entire Florida congressional delegation today urged Acting Interior Secretary Bernhardt to protect the coasts of Florida from oil and gas development. Unanimous bipartisan support is rare in Washington, but the stakes are high for Florida, it’s economy and natural environment as the Trump Administration moves forward on drilling off the coast.
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U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor (FL14), Francis Rooney (FL19) and the entire Florida congressional delegation today urged Acting Interior Secretary Bernhardt to protect the coasts of Florida from oil and gas development. Unanimous bipartisan support is rare in Washington, but the stakes are high for Florida, it’s economy and natural environment as the Trump Administration moves forward on drilling off the coast.

“Florida’s economic well-being is dependent upon our state’s fragile and treasured coasts.  Clean coasts and healthy oceans are the fundamental underpinning of jobs and revenue in our communities. Florida’s coastal communities thrive in concert with a healthy marine environment.  Views littered with drilling platforms, industrialization of coastline and oil on our beaches spell disaster for Florida’s economy and our neighbors who rely on tourism, fishing and related business,” the letter stated.

“The Florida delegation is united in the call to protect our state’s coasts from oil and gas development. Floridians are keenly aware of the devastating impacts of oil and gas drilling off our shores and we cannot risk the devastation brought by blowouts nor afford the high costs of carbon pollution. I am proud to have led my colleagues in the Florida delegation with Rep. Francis Rooney (FL19) in urging Acting Secretary Bernhardt to exempt our coasts from any offshore drilling plans. A huge majority of Floridians made it clear that the risk of oil drilling is too much when they voted overwhelmingly in favor of banning drilling in Florida’s state waters, so we must fight to preserve and protect Florida’s future, economic and environmental wellbeing,” said U.S. Rep. Castor (FL14).

U.S. Rep. Rooney (FL19) stated, “Our beaches drive Florida’s more than $100 billion in tourism revenue. Coastal communities and businesses — charter boat captains, hotels, restaurants, recreational outlets, tourist services of all types — all depend on a healthy and pristine marine environment. Even the most remote risk or perception thereof undermines our tourism-driven economy.

“Additionally, drilling and exploration activities would have severe impacts on military readiness and training. Military ranges in the gulf and Atlantic are used to test cutting-edge munitions and technologies for our armed forces. The most critical testing is done just east of the Military Mission Line, where drilling is currently prevented by the moratorium. Drilling and exploration within these training areas would interfere with vital military activities.

“There is no place for offshore drilling off the coast of Florida and I am proud to join with all of my colleagues from Florida to emphasize the importance of exempting Florida’s coasts from any offshore drilling in the five-year plan,” he concluded.

"Former Secretary Zinke made a commitment to Floridians when he said he would remove the state from President Trump’s offshore drilling plan. Today’s bipartisan letter exemplifies unified opposition against dirty and dangerous offshore drilling getting one inch closer to Florida’s coasts. All eyes are on Acting Secretary Bernhardt. Will he stand with his former clients from the offshore drilling industry or the people who have the most to lose from new offshore drilling?,” stated Diane Hoskins, Campaign Director for Oceana. 

Early this year, U.S. Reps. Castor and Rooney reintroduced her Florida Coastal Protection Act to ban drilling off the coasts of Florida. U.S. Rep. Castor’s bill would make permanent the moratorium on oil drilling that exists now but is slated to expire in 2022 and will also extend the recently approved state moratorium to federal waters.

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