offshore oil rig

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Senators Introduce Bill to Ban Offshore Drilling Off Florida Coasts

Mike Schuler
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July 27, 2021

United States Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) have introduced legislation to make permanent a federal ban on oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coasts.

The current offshore drilling moratorium was put in place by Executive Order signed by former President Trump in September 2020 as he sought to win support in the state ahead of the Presidential election.

Under the American Shores Protection Act, the offshore drilling moratorium would be in place for the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic until 2032. Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“From beautiful beaches that draw tourists from around the world to housing critical military infrastructure, Florida’s coastlines are vital to our state and national economies,” Senator Rubio said. “Protecting Florida’s unique coasts and vital military assets has long been a priority of mine. I am grateful for the steps taken by the Trump Administration to ensure the existing moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico remains in place beyond 2022, but we must do more. This legislation would solidify the protections that President Trump implemented, ensuring that both of Florida’s coasts will remain safe from executive action to revoke the moratorium.”

President Trump’s executive order was a reversal from the administration’s earlier plan to expand offshore drilling off most of America’s coasts, including Florida. President Biden, on the other hand, has sought to pause new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters as part of a plan to rein in fossil-fuels and combat the effects of climate change. But the Biden administration’s pause was dealt a blow in June when a federal judge in Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction to Louisiana and 12 other states, not including Florida, to end the leasing moratorium.

“As Governor of Florida, I fought for and secured a commitment from the Trump administration to ban oil drilling off Florida’s coasts,” Senator Scott said. “While I’m glad the moratorium on drilling was extended for another 10 years under the Trump Administration, it’s time to codify this ban into law. I’m proud to join Senator Rubio in this important fight to preserve and protect Florida’s natural resources for generations to come.”

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