Political opposites Wasserman Schultz and Matt Gaetz join forces to push ban on oil drilling off Florida’s coasts

Oil and gas drilling around Florida’s coastlines would be permanently banned under legislation U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, is introducing this week.

She’s announcing the plan or the Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act on Monday — which is Earth Day and the ninth anniversary that that the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico, causing an environmental catastrophe.

Wasserman Schultz, one of Florida’s most prominent liberal members of Congress, is joined in the effort by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican and one of the state’s most prominent conservatives and a strong ally of President Donald Trump.

Two other original cosponsors of the legislation are U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, a Gulf Coast Republican, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat who represents part of Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys.

The proposed legislation comes at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration is moving toward allowing much greater offshore oil exploration.

A Quinnipiac University Poll last month found 64 percent of Florida voters oppose drilling in the ocean off the coasts, with 29 percent supporting it. Of all political, gender, education, age and racial groups, all were opposed except Florida Republicans, who supported offshore drilling, 54 percent to 38 percent.

“Coastal communities face unacceptable risk if President Trump’s plan for offshore drilling moves forward,” Diane Hoskins, campaign director for the organization Oceana, said in a statement. Her organization is the product of a coalition of major foundations aimed at restoring the world’s oceans.

Spills can threaten sea life and the economies of Florida coastal communities, particularly tourism and fishing, Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *