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Rubio Statement on Bernhardt Nomination

Apr 10, 2019 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding his upcoming vote to confirm David Bernhardt as United States Secretary of the Interior:
“After speaking with Acting Secretary Bernhardt, the White House, and leadership in the Senate, I am confident that when all is said and done the ban on oil drilling off of Florida’s coasts will remain in place,” Rubio said. “Mr. Bernhardt will have to follow the legal requirements for taking input and comment in finalizing the five-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Drilling Final Proposed Plan. But he is well aware of Florida’s unique and vulnerable coastal character, and that most Floridians are opposed to allowing offshore drilling off of the state’s coasts. He confirmed that input from state delegations and governors is one of the most important factors and our state’s Congressional delegation and Governor DeSantis stand united in opposition to Florida’s inclusion.”
“Furthermore, I expect that Mr. Bernhardt and the White House will not act to oppose or defeat my efforts to extend the offshore drilling moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico beyond its current expiration in 2022,” Rubio continued. “By all accounts, he is well-qualified and capable, and I will use my seat on the Appropriations Committee to ensure his actions regarding Florida match our states interests.”
A timeline of Rubio’s recent efforts related to offshore drilling:

  • 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.