The US Senate voted on a bill to allow additional oil drilling off the Florida coast, lifting a former moratorium on drilling within 50 miles of the coast, reported ABC News. The old rules, in place since 2007, prohibit drilling within a 125 mile buffer zone off of Florida. Opponents of the deal worry about the environmental impact of lifting the ban.
“Anywhere you drill out there, if there are any mistakes, they can have an effect on the entire Gulf,” said Suzi Fox, Director of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch. “I think even 100 miles is too close. We didn’t feel the effects of the Deepwater Horizon here on Anna Maria but the Gulf is a home and it is all intertwined.”
Senate Democrats plan to block the deal, and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida informed Minority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would lead the effort, likely with a filibuster.
According to local news sources, Louisiana and surrounding states will stand to gain from the new deal in the form of increased refining activity. However, Florida itself has little capacity for that industry, and is expected to receive minimal benefits.