Florida Congressman Ander Crenshaw, who represents the state’s 4th congressional district, issued a brief statement today saying in light of the oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico, “…now is not the time to discuss moving forward with offshore oil and gas exploration.” The statement was apparently an abbreviated version of an email sent to the Florida Times-Union on Friday where Crenshaw added that he had not changed his overall position of support for increased oil and gas exploration off the Florida coast.
Other Florida republicans have made their views known as well. Republican Congressman Jeff Miller, who represents the state’s 1st district has supported expanded offshore oil drilling in the past, but has called for an immediate halt to it until the cause of the recent disaster can be determined.13th district Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan remains opposed to offshore drilling and on Monday called for the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform to investigate British Petroleum.
Buchanan is calling for an investigation into why B.P. received a waiver excluding the company from conducting an environmental impact study at the Deepwater Horizon site. In a letter sent to the committee, Buchanan cites an exploration plan for the Deepwater site supplied by BP which called the prospect of an oil spill unlikely and added that no special mitigation efforts would be employed.
President Obama's decided back in March to end a 20 year moratorium on drilling off Florida‘s coast. Late last week however, in view of the unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf, the President decided not to allow future leases for offshore drilling. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Congress first enacted an Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing moratorium in 1988, which covered leases in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. A number of states, including Florida, do not allow the leasing of state waters for oil and gas drilling. In 2009 a bill that would have partially rescinded that ban failed in the Florida legislature.
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