Even while the Trump administration has agreed not to allow oil drilling off the coast of Florida, a congressman from the Sunshine State wants to make sure that pledge becomes law.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., who is the vice chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee despite having just completed his first year in Congress, unveiled the “Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act.” Rooney’s proposal would ensure the federal moratorium banning oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would become permanent.
Rooney made the case for his proposal on Friday.
“Offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is incompatible with our environment and endangers our military readiness,” Rooney said. The moratorium on exploration and drilling was established in 2006 and will expire in 2022 unless Congress acts. It is critical for the future of Florida and our tourism-based economy that this effort to extend the moratorium succeed.”
Rooney praised Gov. Rick Scott for his work ensuring the Trump administration would not permit drilling off the Florida coast.
“I am thankful for the hard work of Governor Scott and the responsiveness of Secretary Zinke in carving Florida out of the administration’s updated drilling plan, but we must ensure that future generations do not have to continue fighting this battle,” Rooney said.
During his time in Congress, Rooney has thrown his support behind U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s, D-Fla., “Florida Coastal Protection Act” which would also make the moratorium on drilling in the eastern Gulf and around parts of South Florida permanent. Rooney is also backing U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s, D-Fla., “Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act” which extends the moratorium until 2027.
Rooney’s bill was sent to the U..S House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday. So far, Rooney has not rounded up any cosponsors in the House.
First elected to Congress in 2016 to represent parts of Southwest Florida, Rooney served as ambassador to the Holy See during then President George W. Bush’s second term.