Files new amendment to defense bill that would
maintain current moratorium for five additional years
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) filed legislation today to maintain the current moratorium on oil and gas activities in the eastern Gulf of Mexico – and prevent the administration from opening up any new areas closer to Florida’s coast to offshore drilling – until, at least, 2027.
The move comes amid reports that the oil industry – despite the Trump administration’s pledge that Florida would be “off the table” to new drilling – has launched a new campaign to try to open up additional areas in the eastern Gulf to offshore drilling.
“Here we go,” Nelson tweeted in response to the reports Wednesday. “Like us, Big Oil doesn’t believe Florida is really “off the table” to new drilling – despite what Scott and the Trump administration keep saying – and now they are making a new push to drill closer to Florida’s shores. We can’t let that happen!”
Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, filed the measure to maintain the current moratorium in the eastern gulf for an additional five years – until 2027, instead of 2022 – as an amendment to the annual defense bill that’s currently being considered in the Senate.
By filing the measure as an amendment to the defense bill – instead of as a standalone piece of legislation – it could need only 50 votes to be approved and added into the broader bill, instead of the 60 votes it typically takes to get a bill through the chamber.
Now filed, a decision on whether to allow a vote on Nelson’s amendment will be up to Senate leaders – while a decision on whether the amendment would need only 50 votes, instead of 60, will be up to the Senate Parliamentarian.
Nelson says, however, if they are successful in getting Senate leaders to allow a vote on the measure, the fact that it may only need 50 votes to pass as an amendment would drastically increase its chances of becoming law.
Full text of the amendment can be found here.
Image source: nelsonforsenate.com