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Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GARCIA. Mr. Speaker, this is a final amendment to the bill. This will not delay or kill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will proceed immediately to final passage, as amended.

Just over 3 years ago, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and spilling 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Our Nation was gripped with images like this and this, of oil gushing into the gulf, washing up on to our shores.

Mr. Speaker, this was the worst environmental disaster in our Nation's history, with economic costs of over $40 billion.

While other Gulf States suffered more, Florida's tourism and fishing were hurt. Mr. Speaker, it could even be worse, more damaging next time. That's why my amendment that I am offering today is so important. The amendment will prevent another BP oil spill by imposing safety standards for drilling based on what we learned from this terrible accident. If such a disaster is to occur again, this amendment will also make sure that the polluter pays for the cleanup.

As the BP oil accident shows, something happening hundreds of miles away affected Florida's coast and can easily bring oil to our State's shores. In south Florida, we know that these spills are not just a threat to the environment; they are a threat to our economy.

An oil disaster off Florida would affect the lives of millions, including local fishermen, hotels, restaurant owners, small businesses, and families that depend on these businesses for their jobs and livelihoods.

With approximately 90 million visitors per year, Florida is one of the top destinations of the world. Our tourism industry generates nearly $70 billion annually, supporting over 1 million jobs throughout the State. People from all over the country, in fact, all over the world, travel to Florida to enjoy our incredible beaches, our unparalleled sport fishing, and our State's unique natural treasures.

Anglers from all over the world come to my district, to the village of Islamorada, the sports fishing capital of the world, to enjoy sports fishing that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. My district also includes the Florida Everglades, the largest wetland in America and a jewel in our National Park System.

In south Florida, we know our economic future depends on preserving our environment. This is why protecting Florida's coast from the dangers of offshore drilling has always drawn support from both sides. This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. It's a Florida issue, and, in fact, it's a national issue.

At a time when we face so many important issues, we here in Congress need to work together to do what's right. While I am new to the ways of Washington, I hope and believe that we can put party pressures aside and put America's people first.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' to ensure that we can protect our environment, our economy, our Nation from another disaster like the BP oil spill.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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