Rep. Vern Buchanan co-sponsors offshore drilling ban

After introducing seven new bills on the first day of the congressional session, Rep. Vern Buchanan is co-sponsoring one more.

The Republican lawmaker from Longboat Key has teamed up with Reps. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., Francis Rooney, R-Fla., and Charlie Christ, D-Fla., to reintroduce the Florida Coastal Protection Act, which has won bipartisan support. The legislation would make permanent the current moratorium protecting waters up to 235 miles off Floridas coast. It is currently set to expire in June 2022.

Allowing drilling off of Floridas pristine coasts would be a colossal mistake. Red tide has already plagued the Sunshine State it would be imprudent to invite the potential for another catastrophic oil spill that would devastate Floridas economy and environment, Buchanan said.

Florida voters signaled their approval of an offshore drilling ban with 69 percent voting yes on Amendment 9 in November. That protection, however, only applies to state waters three miles into the Atlantic and nine miles into the Gulf of Mexico. The bill would significantly expand those protections to federal waters.

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Florida voters spoke clearly in November: no drilling off our coasts, Crist said. Our job is to be their voice in Washington, sending that same message loud and clear with this bill to block harmful drilling and exploration off of Florida. We cannot afford another disaster devastating our waters, healthy....

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