DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 18, 2006)
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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank Chairman Taylor as well as his excellent staff for allowing all of the Members to participate in the drafting of this amendment and a debate on this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, there is one provision that is very harmful to my home State of Florida. Along with my Florida Members, we will be fighting the Peterson language that is attached to this bill which will allow offshore drilling just 3 miles off our Nation's coastlines.
The Peterson language would overturn a 25-year bipartisan moratorium on such drilling. It is bad for the environment, it is bad for national security, and it is not the answer to our pressing energy needs.
Three miles. That is the distance in which drilling structures could appear off of Florida's shoreline. These structures could blight the coast, damage sensitive habitat, undermine our State's economic future. Last year alone, 85 million people visited Florida, many to experience the national beauty of our sandy beaches and marine habitats.
Offshore drilling would introduce toxins and pollutants into the ocean environment. The Florida delegation will unite to promote the Putnam amendment later today to strip the Peterson language from the bill.
Mr. Chairman, I am so proud to represent the national treasures of the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is home to thousands of plants and animal species as well as the world's third largest living coral reef system. Drilling would threaten the health of this national marine sanctuary and undermine our efforts to foster and restore sensitive areas.
Mr. Chairman, I encourage my colleagues' help in making sure that we can protect Florida's coastline and our Nation's ecosystem by adopting the Putnam amendment and rejecting the Peterson language.
Mr. Chairman, I thank again Chairman Taylor for his time and for this opportunity.
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