Buchanan Files Ban on Offshore Drilling off Florida

Todays News

Photo courtesy Buchanan: Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Before leaving office, former President Donald Trump put a 10-year moratorium in place for offshore drilling off Florida’s coast. But U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, wants to make sure the ban stays in place forever.

Buchanan filed a bipartisan bill with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, to make the moratorium part of federal law. That would stop any future presidential administration from lifting the 10-year ban before it expires in June of 2032, and would mean it required an act of Congress to allow drilling even after that point.

“Allowing drilling off of Florida’s coasts would be a colossal mistake,” Buchanan said. “As we learned from the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil explosion in 2010, our state cannot afford another spill that would threaten our economy, our environment and our way of life. As co-chair of the 30-member bipartisan Florida congressional delegation, I will continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect the state’s pristine coasts and beautiful waterways.”

That BP explosion, off the coast of Louisiana, killed 11 people and led to 134 million gallons on untreated oil releasing into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days. The oil spill reached part of the Florida Panhandle, but the publicity around the disaster caused problems for tourist destinations along the entire Gulf of Mexico coast.

The Coastal Protection Act would ban any oil of gas drilling for 235 miles off Florida’s Gulf Coast, as well as 275 miles off of the Atlantic Coast and in the Florida Straits. 

Buchanan notably co-chairs the Florida Congressional Delegation, and has also fought this year for red tide finding and to have algal blooms declared as federal natural disasters.

While the bulk of Republicans in Congress nationwide have opposed drilling bans in the past, the moratorium boasts bipartisan support in Florida, notably the state where Trump now lives. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has supported bans on drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico when the House has taken the issue up.

Castor, who previously represented parts of Manatee County, has also always supported a ban and chaired the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in the last Congress. That committee no longer exists, but Castor said it’s important for Florida to continue protecting the coastline.

“In the Sunshine State, clean water and our beautiful beaches are central to our way of life and the cornerstones of our economy, and we know that oil and gas drilling can devastate both our environment and economy,” she said. “With our bipartisan bill, Congress has an opportunity to permanently protect our coastal beaches and communities from dangerous offshore drilling.”

Photo courtesy Buchanan: Deepwater Horizon explosion.

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