Tallahassee, FL – Today’s announcement by the Trump administration and the Department of the Interior to open up Florida’s coast to offshore drilling is a slap in the face to the numerous state officials who have voiced major opposition to this dangerous plan. Like other ill-conceived policy changes over the last year, the Trump administration is on the opposite side of his own party in Florida. The Florida Congressional Delegation, including a huge number of Republicans, has repeatedly opposed this plan as have many state legislators.
Florida’s environment, public health and safety will be all directly threatened by the Trump administration’s plan to open up huge swathes of protected ocean areas to drilling. The proposal erases policies put in place as safeguards for our vulnerable region, especially against dangerous oil spills. This is not the beginning of a forward-looking American energy era, but instead a huge step backwards that will lead to a disaster.
At a time when we should be pressing hard to get off fossil fuels and banning dirty energy practices like offshore drilling and fracking, this announcement is especially egregious. The Florida Republican delegation must do everything in their Congressional power to put an end to the treacherous direction their president is taking with oil exploration in Florida. Similarly, leaders like Senate President Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran must pass a resolution this session that unequivocally states that no oil drilling should take place offshore or inland.
We saw the major toll that oil spills can have on Florida’s tourism industry with the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. Not only did tar balls wash ashore in the Panhandle, the mere perception of oil polluted beaches was enough to deter tourists along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Oil rigs offshore and fracking inland could have a similarly drastic impact on Florida.
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.