Press Release

Rep. Castor Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Permanently Ban Drilling Off Florida As Expiration of 2022 Moratorium Looms Large

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Washington, April 26, 2021 | comments

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) reintroduced her bipartisan Florida Coastal Protection Act with Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL16) and a bipartisan majority of the Florida delegation, to make permanent the moratorium on oil drilling off Florida’s coast that is slated to expire in 2022. Last Congress, this legislation passed the House with a bipartisan majority and sat on Mitch McConnell’s desk without a vote.

“Here in the Sunshine State, our natural resources and beautiful beaches are central to our way of life and the cornerstone of our economy. We have seen the devastating impacts of oil and gas drilling off of our shores, and are coming together, Democrats and Republicans, to once again introduce legislation to protect our coast - permanently,” said Rep. Castor. “President Biden took action early in his tenure to pause new oil and gas leasing in public waters and launch a rigorous review of all existing leasing and permitting related to fossil fuel development – good news for Florida. But without Congressional action, we know that executive orders can be reversed. That’s why Congress must vote to fully protect Florida’s economy and environment – we overwhelmingly passed this bill last Congress, and it’s my hope, with a Democratic majority in the Senate, that we can get this bill to President Biden’s desk for signature. The future of our way of life depends on decisive action.”

“Allowing drilling off of Florida’s pristine coasts would be a colossal mistake,” said Rep. Buchanan. “Red tide has already plagued the Sunshine State – it would be imprudent to invite the potential for another catastrophic oil spill that would devastate Florida’s economy and environment.  As co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, I will continue working with colleagues in both parties to protect the state’s beautiful coasts and waters.”

Current cosponsors of the bill include: Florida Reps. Kathy Castor, Vern Buchanan, Gus Bilirakis, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Byron Donalds, Lois Frankel, Scott Franklin, Matt Gaetz, Carlos Gimenez, Al Lawson, Brian Mast, Stephanie Murphy, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Frederica Wilson.

U.S. Rep. Castor has introduced legislation to keep oil drilling away from Florida throughout her tenure in Congress. The Gulf of Mexico BP Horizon disaster was a wake-up call for many who urged “drill, baby, drill.”  She was active and outspoken against BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which impacted Florida’s beaches, economy and small businesses. That year, she secured $10 million from BP to support Florida college and university marine research, including the University of South Florida and Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory. Castor introduced the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act to fund long-term economic recovery, environmental restoration and research with the fines and penalties to be paid by BP for its pollution under the Clean Water Act. Extensive bipartisan efforts continued on this legislation in 2011, and in June 2012, Gulf Coast states and the Gulf of Mexico achieved a major victory when the RESTORE Act was passed by Congress.

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