This week, U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., led a letter with the entire Florida Democratic congressional delegation calling on President Donald Trump to denounce offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The letter follows reports that the Trump administration plans to open the Eastern Gulf to offshore drilling after the November election.
“Protecting our environment unites Floridians of all political stripes. This is why I’m deeply troubled by reports that the Trump administration is planning to open up our coast to offshore drilling after the November election,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “Senators McConnell, Rubio, and Scott must vote on bipartisan legislation passed by the House to ban such drilling and the president must quickly sign it into law.”
Florida Democrats U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Ted Deutch, Val Demings, Al Lawson, Alcee L. Hastings, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Charlie Crist, Donna Shalala, Lois Frankel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson signed the letter which is below.
Dear President Trump:
We are deeply troubled by reports that your Administration is planning to open up the Eastern Gulf to offshore drilling after the November election.
Floridians agree that offshore drilling would be disastrous for our state. Our ecosystem is incredibly delicate, and our economy and our communities rely on healthy coastlines. We experienced first-hand the destruction from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, and we remember it like it happened yesterday. We need to be doing everything we can to make sure like nothing like that ever happens again. Drilling and spilling are incompatible with Floridians’ way of life.
Additionally, the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area is home to the Joint Gulf Range Complex, an asset that is the home to the military’s advanced weapons testing and joint training exercises. These activities, which will only increase in importance with future advancements in technologies, could be placed at risk by pre-drilling and drilling activities, as well as by spills that result. This could compromise our military’s readiness as well as our national security.
In 2018, Floridians voted to ban drilling in state waters, and last September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan basis to permanently ban offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf. All but one Representative from Florida voted for this ban.
Therefore, we urge you to immediately take two specific actions. First, we urge you to commit to Floridians and to the nation that you will not, during any point in your presidency, support drilling in the Eastern Gulf. Second, we urge you to clearly communicate to Senators McConnell, Rubio, and Scott, that if the Senate passes an offshore drilling bill like the House did, you would swiftly sign such legislation into law.
Any effort to undermine Floridians’ near-unanimous objection to such drilling is shameful, and any reluctance on your part to take either of the two actions mentioned above will be interpreted as your support for drilling off Florida’s coast.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.