Buchanan leads colleagues in reintroducing Florida Coastal Protection Act

With the current drilling moratorium for the eastern Gulf of Mexico set to expire in 2022, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) this week helped lead a bipartisan contingent of Florida lawmakers in reintroducing a bill to permanently extend the drilling ban off the Florida coastlines.

“The fatal explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and massive spill into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was one of the worst environmental disasters in history,” Rep. Buchanan said on Monday. “We can’t risk another spill that would threaten our economy, our environment and our way of life.”

Rep. Buchanan on April 26 signed on as the lead original cosponsor of the Florida Coastal Protection Act, H.R. 2836, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) and 18 other original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL).

If enacted, H.R. 2836 would prohibit oil and natural gas preleasing, leasing, and related activities in certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Florida, according to the congressional record bill summary.

The original bipartisan bill of the same name, H.R. 286, was introduced in January 2019 by Reps. Buchanan and Castor, but stalled in subcommittee. The newly reintroduced bill has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

Rep. Buchanan pointed out that southwest Florida for the last few years has been plagued by toxic red tide and doesn’t need the added threat of an oil spill. “This naturally occurring harmful algal bloom has had a very damaging impact,” said Rep. Buchanan. “It would be a huge mistake to allow drilling and be forced to confront another catastrophic spill.”