Rutherford Reintroduces Legislation to Block Drilling Off the Florida Coast

October 26, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Rutherford (FL-04) is proud to introduce H.R. 5707, the Preserving Recreation, Oceans, Tourism, Environment, and Coastal Towns (PROTECT) Florida Act, to prevent drilling off the coast of Florida. This bill creates a drilling moratorium in the South Atlantic and the Straits of Florida and extends until 2032 the existing drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Floridians know the importance of safeguarding our many coastal communities and unique tourism industry,” said Rutherford. “We’ve already seen how an oil spill can be an environmental disaster for the ecosystem and decimate coastal economies. The PROTECT Florida Act will prevent drilling and seismic testing off Florida shores for ten years, codifying this important protection into law instead of relying on federal regulations that can change at any time. I’m proud to be joined by a bipartisan coalition to say ‘NO’ to offshore drilling.”

In 2018, nearly 70 percent of Florida voters supported a state constitutional amendment to ban offshore drilling in state waters off Florida’s coastline. The PROTECT Florida Act will safeguard the federal waters outside the jurisdiction of this state amendment. In addition to the PROTECT Florida Act, Rutherford also sponsored bipartisan legislation to block seismic testing in the Atlantic, save the North Atlantic right whale, and create the Nation’s Oldest Port National Heritage Area on the First Coast.

The original cosponsors of the PROTECT Florida Act are Florida Representatives Kat Cammack (FL-03), Michael Waltz (FL-06), Bill Posey (FL-08), Darren Soto (FL-09), Val Demings (FL-10), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Brian Mast (FL-18), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), and Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27).