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Rubio, Scott Introduce Legislation to Protect the Eastern Gulf of Mexico From Drilling

Jan 22, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) re-introduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act, legislation that would extend the moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico from 2022 to 2032, and make Florida eligible to receive a share of the revenue generated by drilling in the central and western portions of the Gulf. Rubio first introduced this bill in May 2017 and reintroduced it in January 2019. This bill would help solidify the progress made by President Trump’s September 2020 executive actions to protect Florida’s shores.
“Protecting Florida’s vital coastlines and ensuring our State receives equitable treatment is one of my top priorities,” Rubio said. “I am thankful the Trump Administration took steps last year to ensure the ban on oil drilling off of Florida remains in place beyond 2022, but we must do more. This legislation would codify the protections that President Trump implemented by executive action, ensuring that Florida’s shores will remain safe. The legislation would also allow Florida to be included in the list of Gulf states that are eligible to share revenue, compensating for its share in the risk posed by drilling in the western and Central Gulf of Mexico.”
“It is imperative that Congress passes this bill to ensure that the presidential moratorium cannot be revoked,” Rubio continued. “I urge my colleagues to move this legislation swiftly through the Senate and House, so that Florida’s natural resources and economy remain shielded from the threat of offshore oil drilling.”
“As Governor of Florida, I fought for and secured a commitment from the Trump Administration to keep oil drilling off Florida’s coasts, and I’m glad they extended the moratorium on oil drilling for another 10 years,” Scott said. “I’m proud to join Senator Rubio today to put this ban into law. We will never stop fighting to preserve and protect Florida’s natural resources so the state can remain a top destination for families, visitors and businesses.”
A timeline of Rubio’s recent efforts related to offshore drilling:

  • On September 8, 2020, Rubio praised the Trump Administration for protecting Florida’s coasts
  • On December 17, 2019, Rubio released the hold on MacGregor’s nomination after a conversation with Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, in which Rubio was confident DOI understood the views of Floridians.
  • On December 4, 2019, Rubio placed a hold on Katharine MacGregor’s nomination to be United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior. 
  • On March 7, 2019, Rubio and Scott sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Acting Secretary David Bernhardt urging that the Department’s next five-year Proposed Plan for offshore oil and gas drilling exclude all areas along Florida’s coast.
  • On January 3, 2019, Rubio reintroduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act (S. 13), which would extend the current moratorium on offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico through 2027 and would allow Florida to access additional resources for coastal conservation that are available to the other Gulf states.
  • On January 24, 2018, Rubio joined members of the Florida delegation in sending a letter to Interior Secretary Zinke reiterating strong opposition to any attempt to open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.
  • On January 19, 2018, Rubio and Dunn lead the entire Florida delegation in a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to ensure Florida’s military capabilities are unaffected by the Interior Department’s offshore drilling proposal.
  • On January 4, 2018, in response to the Interior Department’s release of its draft 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing plan, Rubio released a statement urging Secretary Zinke to recognize the Florida Congressional delegation’s bipartisan efforts to maintain and extend the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and remove this area for future planning purposes.
  • On May 4, 2017, Rubio originally introduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act, which would extend the moratorium on energy exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and make Florida eligible to receive a share of revenue generated by drilling in the central and western portions of the Gulf.  Rubio reintroduced the bill (S. 13) on January 3, 2019.