Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Hails New Rules Protecting Florida Coast from Oil Spills

Apr 14, 2016
Press Release
Safeguards Designed to Prevent Future Disasters Like Deepwater Horizon

Buchanan Longtime Opponent of Drilling off the Gulf Coast 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan, R-FL, praised new federal safeguards released today aimed at protecting Florida’s coastline from oil spills such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe – one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

The new regulations released by the Interior Department spell out national safety requirements, such as more frequent testing of blowout preventers – the very device that malfunctioned during the Deepwater Horizon spill. Other new safeguards include restrictions on well and drilling fluid pressure and continuous monitoring of deep-water projects.

The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana released more than four million barrels of oil into the ocean, much of which washed up on Florida’s west coast.

Buchanan, a longtime opponent of offshore drilling near Florida’s pristine coastline, said: “Florida’s coastal communities depend on a clean and healthy ocean and we shouldn’t jeopardize the state’s economy or environment by gambling on operations that lack adequate safeguards.”

Buchanan’s opposition to drilling off the Florida coast includes sponsoring legislation in 2011 that would stop Cuba from drilling within 50 miles of Florida and voting against opening Florida’s coast to drilling in 2011.

The Congressman added, “The legacy of the tragic Deepwater Horizon disaster is that safety, rigorous oversight and extreme caution should be exercised in building these deep-water rigs.”

Florida, which was severely impacted by the Deepwater Horizon spill, is slated to receive $3.25 billion from British Petroleum as a result of a 2015 settlement. Florida joined other gulf states and the federal government in suing British Petroleum after the spill.

Buchanan is a co-sponsor of the Preserving Florida’s Coastal Communities Act (H.R. 2630), which would prohibit drilling within 125 miles of Florida’s shores in the Gulf of Mexico until 2027. Under current law, such drilling is prohibited until 2022.