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

July 16, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives John Rutherford (FL-04) and Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) introduced the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act. This bipartisan plan would invest $5 million annually in grants that states, non-profits, and members of the fishing and marine shipping industries can use to fund research and efforts that restore the North Atlantic right whale population.

June 16, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Rutherford (FL-04) and Kathy Fleming, Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. Rutherford and Fleming testified in support of H.R. 2107, the Nation’s Oldest Port National Heritage Area Act, which was reintroduced by Rutherford earlier this year. This legislation would designate portions of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, and Flagler Counties as a National Heritage Area (NHA).

March 26, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives John Rutherford (FL-04) and Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) announced the beginning of the Great Red Snapper Count in the South Atlantic. Representatives Rutherford and Murphy secured $3.3 million in Appropriations legislation to fund an independent 30-month study that will help better understand the true stock of red snapper in the South Atlantic.

December 10, 2020 Rutherford Ride Alongs

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.