Buchanan Warns Florida “Not Out of The Woods Yet” on Drilling
“We Need to Put It in Law”
WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan warned today that “Florida is not out of the woods yet” when it comes to protecting the state from another catastrophic oil spill.
“Although I’m pleased the Trump Administration has backed off plans to expand drilling off Florida’s coasts for now, we need to pass my bill extending the drilling moratorium until 2027,” the congressman said. “Without legislation extending and codifying the ban in law, any future administration could change that policy. We need to put it in law.”
Buchanan said it also is important to ensure that safety rules adopted after the Deepwater Horizon disaster are not lifted or weakened.
Buchanan is the co-author of the bipartisan Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) to extend by five years a ban on oil drilling off much of Florida’s Gulf coast until 2027. The current moratorium is set to expire in June of 2022.
“Florida’s beaches are vital to our economy and way of life,” Buchanan said. “Our coastal communities depend on a clean and healthy ocean and we cannot risk another catastrophic event like Deepwater Horizon.”
As co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, Buchanan last week led a letter from a bipartisan group of 21 Florida congressmen opposed to any rollback of safety regulations adopted after the fatal Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. An Interior Department bureau recently said some of the regulations adopted in response to the tragedy created “potentially unduly burdensome requirements” on oil and gas operators. The proposal to roll back safety rules was published in the Federal Register at the end of 2017.
Buchanan also strongly opposed the Trump administration’s recent announcement, since rescinded, that Florida would be opened to more offshore oil and gas drilling.
The Deepwater Horizon spill spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, claimed the lives of 11 workers, decimated the region’s iconic wildlife and severely damaged our fishing and tourism industries.