Rutherford Introduces Legislation to Block Drilling Off the Florida Coast

June 28, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman John Rutherford (FL-04) introduced H.R. 3585, the Bolstering Economies, Anglers, Coastal Habitats, Ecosystems, and Security (BEACHES) in Florida Act to prevent drilling off the coast of Florida. This bill creates a moratorium in the South Atlantic and Straits of Florida and extends the existing moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico on oil and gas leasing and exploration in federal waters off the coast of Florida until 2029. 

“At a time when the United States is exporting record quantities of oil and gas, there is no need to conduct new drilling off the Florida coast,” said Rutherford. “Florida voters spoke loud and clear last year by passing an amendment to the state constitution banning drilling in state waters. Now it’s time for the federal government to step up and protect our beaches, ecosystems, and national security. I am proud to see strong bipartisan support among the Florida delegation for the BEACHES in Florida Act – together we will get this bill signed into law and ensure Florida remains closed to offshore drilling for the next ten years.” 

Last November, nearly 70 percent of Florida voters supported a state constitutional amendment to ban offshore drilling in state waters that extend three to nine miles off Florida’s coastline. The BEACHES in Florida Act will safeguard the federal waters outside the jurisdiction of this new state amendment. In addition to the BEACHES in Florida Act, Rutherford also sponsored bipartisan legislation to block seismic testing in the Atlantic, and previously sent a letter signed by the entire Florida congressional delegation to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt opposing oil and gas development off the Florida coast.

The original cosponsors of the BEACHES in Florida Act are Florida Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-12), Vern Buchanan (R-16), Kathy Castor (D-14), Charlie Crist (D-13), Matt Gaetz (R-01), Alcee Hastings (D-20), Al Lawson (D-05), Brian Mast (R-18), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-26), Stephanie Murphy (D-07), Bill Posey (R-08), Francis Rooney (R-19), Darren Soto (D-09), Ross Spano (R-15), Michael Waltz (R-06), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-23), and Ted Yoho (R-03).