Congressman David Rivera (FL-25) released the following statement on his vote against H.R. 3408, the Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environment, Energy and Resource Security (PIONEERS) Act.
"Under current law, no energy exploration is permitted east of the Military Mission Line through the year 2022. The line is set in the Gulf of Mexico at approximately 234 miles from Tampa and Florida's coast.
"While the PIONEERS Act extends the drilling ban through 2025, it also permits drilling in three blocks totaling approximately 450 square miles each, to occur east of the Military Mission Line in the Gulf of Mexico. However, there is no indication in the bill as to where these lease blocks would be. There is only a stipulation that they be "in areas with the most promising oil and gas resources.' This ambiguity means that drilling could, theoretically, occur as close as 12 miles off the coast of the Florida Keys.
"I fully support expanding our domestic energy capacity and exploration for additional energy resources. These efforts help decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen our nation's economy. However, allowing exploration so close to Florida's beaches and shores, particularly South Florida and the Florida Keys, could have a negative impact on our state's environment and on our tourism and hospitality industry, a lifeblood of Florida's economy."