Wasserman Schultz bill would ban oil and gas leasing off Florida

US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) introduced legislation which would close the US Outer Continental Shelf off Florida to oil and gas leasing and development.

Apr 23rd, 2019

US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) introduced legislation which would close the US Outer Continental Shelf off Florida to oil and gas leasing and development. The Apr. 22 measure came 9 years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico and triggered a massive crude oil spill after the Macondo deepwater well blew out and exploded, killing nine people, she noted.

“Protecting Florida’s shores from another Deepwater Horizon is vital for our state’s ecosystems and economy,” Wasserman Schultz said. “The Sunshine State’s coasts provide abundant marine life habitat and a destination for beach-lovers worldwide. They are an irreplaceable treasure and ecological necessity – risking our coasts for dangerous oil and gas drilling is unacceptable.”

The bill comes at a critical time for Florida’s coasts since the Trump administration is expected to release a revised federal offshore oil and gas leasing schedule soon which reportedly includes areas off Florida, she continued. The administration also wants to reverse the Well Control rule and other regulatory protections, said Wasserman Schultz, who has introduced similar bills in the past.

Cosponsors from Florida’s House delegation include Reps. Matthew L. Gaetz (R), Vernon G. Buchanan (R), and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D). The Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, the Sierra Club’s Florida Chapter, and the National Parks Conservation Association have endorsed the measure.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

More in General Interest