Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nelson threatens to block energy bill in latest effort to prevent drilling off Florida’s coast

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D- FL) took to the Senate floor this afternoon February 3, 2016 to make it clear to his Senate colleagues that he intends to block any effort to repeal a current no-drilling zone that extends 125 miles off much of Florida's Gulf Coast and as far out as 235 miles at some points.

“An amendment that is suspected to be offered by a senator here is going to give incentive … to try to put oil out there,” Nelson said. “Ever since this senator was a young congressman, I have been carrying this battle.  And I can tell you, Mr. President, this senator is not going to let that happen.”

Nelson made the remarks as the Senate continues its consideration of a broader energy bill. The amendment Nelson opposes is one offered by Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to increase the amount of revenue a state would receive if it allows drilling activities off its coast.

Nelson has been a long-time opponent of having oil rigs too close to Florida, often citing the state’s unique environment; its multi-billion dollar, tourism-driven economy; and the vital national military training areas in the Gulf as reasons why drilling should not be allowed there.

In 2006, he and then-Sen. Mel Martinez successfully brokered a deal to ban drilling off Florida’s Gulf coast through the year 2022.  Nelson filed legislation last year to extend the ban an additional five years, to 2027, and has continuously vowed to do whatever is necessary to keep the ban in place.

Here’s a link to watch video of Nelson’s remarks on the Senate floor: