Congressman Francis Rooney provided testimony to the House Rules Committee on the inclusion of his amendment to appropriations legislation that would prevent offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Without additional legislation, the current moratorium would be lifted in 2022, leaving open the possibility of drilling just a few miles off Florida’s shores.
Congressman Rooney stated, “The Eastern Gulf is home to the Gulf Test Range, a 120,000 square mile range that stretches from the Florida panhandle to Key West. This unimpeded training and testing area is of critical importance to our military now and will become even more important in the future, as hypersonic and drone testing increase. Our military has no better location to carry out these exercises and there is no compelling reason to place drilling interests ahead of military necessities. The proximity to major military bases and its large scale make the Eastern Gulf of Mexico area a unique asset for national defense that cannot be replicated.
“Additionally, Florida’s tourism economy faces an existential threat from offshore drilling. Deepwater Horizon may be the most infamous recent Gulf oil spill but there are many other occurrences of leaks, some still happening, like the Taylor Energy spill, which has dumped over one million gallons of oil over fourteen years. The fact that there have been pipeline to well head leaks every few years by some of the industry’s best operators show that the environmental danger cannot be sufficiently eliminated to justify the risks more offshore drilling presents.
“In addition to the risks to our economy, we don’t need to take this risk to be energy secure anymore. The United States is now a net exporter of oil, meaning that current supply exceeds domestic demand.
“The economic, environmental, and national security case for extending the drilling moratorium is strong. We must act now to safeguard our Gulf and our way of life in Florida.”
Congressman Rooney is the sponsor of H.R. 205, the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act. This simple bill makes the moratorium on offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico permanent.