Florida’s environment is central to our state’s economy and Florida way of life. I take seriously the responsibility to be a good steward of our environment, so that it can be there for generations to come. That is why I have worked to protect our environment through prudent regulation that prevents unnecessary harm. This includes my work to ban offshore drilling off the coast of Florida, reduce the impact of flooding, protect the North Atlantic right whale, and better manage our fisheries. You may be interested to know some of the following legislative actions I’ve taken in this regard:
- Introduced H.R. 3585, the Bolstering Economies, Anglers, Coastal Habitats, Ecosystems and Security (BEACHES) in Florida Act, which would create a 10-year moratorium on oil and gas exploration off Florida’s coasts. I was very pleased to see President Trump recently sign an executive order to do just this – establish a drilling moratorium off the coast of Florida until 2032.
- Introduced H.R. 4542, the Nation’s Oldest Port Heritage Area Act, which would create a National Heritage Area spanning Nassau, Duval, St. Johns and Flagler counties to preserve the unique history and environment in certain coastal areas throughout our region. This designation would provide federal dollars to promote historical preservation, conservation, and tourism.
- Joined the American Flood Coalition, a non-partisan group of government officials, coastal communities, and military leaders who work to build resiliency against rising sea levels.
- Introduced H.R. 1568, the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) North Atlantic Right Whales Act of 2019, which would authorize $5 million in grants to help protect the nearly extinct North Atlantic right whale.
- Secured $1.5 million to improve the data collection for South Atlantic red snapper, which will help extend the recreational red snapper fishing season.
- Introduced H.R. 1149, the Atlantic Coastal Economies Protection Act, which would prohibit seismic testing in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.
- Cosponsored H.R. 3742, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2019, which would support the conservation and restoration of wildlife and plant species.
- Supported the bipartisan Great American Outdoor Act (GAOA) when it passed the House and was signed into law by the President, making available $1.9 billion annually to address the National Parks deferred maintenance backlog. Importantly, this money comes from federal mineral royalties – not taxpayer dollars.
More on Environment
For another Rutherford Ride Along, I spent some time in the trees with Rayonier in Nassau County to learn more about forestry’s economic and environmental impact on Northeast Florida.
Each year, Rayonier plants over 30 million trees by hand! Unlike seasonal crops, timber is planted for a generation, not just for a growing season. It takes years of hard work, disciplined care, and a healthy environment to keep trees in the optimal condition. New technologies allow them to use fewer chemicals and fertilizer, which is better for the environment and their trees.