MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The hundreds of miles of coastline is what makes Florida the tourist Mecca that it is.
Some in South Florida’s congressional delegation are afraid that one day the water off shore could be dotted with oil rigs.
“We have long been wise enough to know that we do not allow oil and gas rigs near our beaches in the state of Florida,” said Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. “They are just too sensitive and too vital to our fishing and tourism economy and our unique way of life.”
Members of South Florida’s congressional delegation are concerned about an executive order signed Friday by President Donald Trump. It aims to expand offshore drilling and review a five-year Obama era plan that banned it in the Arctic as well as parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
“As a delegation, we have always drawn a line in the sand when it comes to drill off of Florida’s coast line and that’s why we’re here again today,” said Wasserman-Schultz. “We’re drawing a deeper bipartisan line in the sand that says “keep your drill baby drill policies away from our vital sensitive Florida coast.”
Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz is filing a bill to mirror one already introduced by Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. It calls for extending a drilling moratorium on the Florida Gulf Coast to the year 2027. They remember the environmental mess seven years ago this month. That’s when the BP oil spill had a devastating impact on the Gulf coast and marine life.
“This is paradise,” said Senator Nelson. “We don’t want to mess it up. We want to keep Florida as this place that is so beautiful so that our families and our guests can continue to enjoy.”
While the president has made no mention of drilling off Florida’s East coast, some fear it won’t be long before someone floats that idea.
“The oil boys will not stop,” said Senator Nelson. “They think they have a friend in the White House and this is the open salvo that even though it did not mention on the eastern seaboard off of Florida, just watch out because it’s coming.”
Many on the beach don’t like the idea of drilling near the coast either.
“Good thing they have those regulations,” said Tom Lynch as he stood on the beach. “Look how beautiful it is out there.”