Bill Nelson, bipartisan Florida Congress members urge drilling ban in Gulf
Sen. Bill Nelson talks to reporters on Feb. 27, 2016, in Fort Myers.


Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has pulled together a bipartisan group of Florida congressmen to sign a letter urging the administration of President Donald Trump to not permit off-shore oil near Florida’s Gulf Coast.

In a letter sent Friday to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Nelson and 16 members of Florida’s congressional delegation urged the administration to maintain the current moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for at least the next five years.

Joining Nelson were Republican U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, Brian Mast, Francis Rooney, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Daniel Webster; and Democratic U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.

Earlier this month, the administration announced it intended to keep the moratorium in place until at least 2022, but recent reports suggest that the administration may be considering a new plan, Nelson’s office reported in a news release Friday morning.

“It’s our understanding that your department may be considering a new Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022,” the lawmakers wrote. “If you do choose to draft a new plan, we strongly urge you to keep the eastern Gulf off limits.

“Drilling in this area threatens Florida’s multi-billion-dollar, tourism-driven economy and is incompatible with the military training and weapons testing that occurs there,” the letter continues.

In 2006, Congress passed the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act, which created a moratorium on drilling in most of the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The letter notes the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that killed 11 men, damaged the marine life ecosystem, and soiled an entire tourism season for Gulf states.

“This tragedy was a painful reminder that Florida’s beaches and economy are at risk even when oil rigs are hundreds of miles away from its shores,” the later states.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • Bobbie Magruda

    March 25, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Thank you Sen. Nelson, you have been strong on issues that matter, and putting the people first… Your hard work has been appreciated.

  • Constanza

    March 26, 2017 at 12:52 am


  • Mary saja

    March 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Thank you!!

  • Ann Zito

    March 26, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Thank You Senator Nelson,
    Pres. Trump calls Florida his second home. We can hope he will help protect it.

  • Rowena Tygielski

    March 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson for doing the right thing!

  • Barbara. Noell

    March 26, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you to all who signed.

  • Linda Saling

    March 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I totally agree! Thank you, Senator Nelson.

  • Susan Jackson

    March 26, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for caring so much for our wonderful state and the people of the United States


    March 26, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson! We can always count on you to be a determined advocate for our beautiful Florida.

  • Sheila Mollica

    March 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson. I admire our representatives who are doing their jobs to protect our environment and our people.

  • stephanie bratter

    March 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I am so surprised there arent more comments here! Thank you so much Senator Nelson for always doing what is best for the people in a small pond filled with snakes…starting with our ridiculous excuse for our self serving crooked Governor…….I know the people are behind you. We have really had enough of big companies raping our beautiful estuaries , waters and lands. Enough is enough!! Thank you thank you!!!

  • Vivian

    March 26, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you Senator for fighting for FL. Wishing you much luck you have an uphill battle. Please continue to do the right thing.

  • Donna O Speed

    March 26, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    With Matt Gaetz wanting to abolish the EPA, the Last thing we need is offshore (or onshore or fracking or pipelines) drilling in Florida. With our fragile land (ie- sinkholes and pristine beaches) and fragile water sources (inland and offshore), we need major protection of our resources. Maybe you could recommend alternative energy sources that don’t pollute. Solar and wind are plentiful. Thanks, Donna Speed

  • Connie Wise

    March 26, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    We support you . Thank you Senator. Port Orange, FL my INDIVISABLE group does also

  • Patzilla

    March 26, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    It’s a little bit late after Obama approved 1500 fracking sites in the Gulf. This moratorium would be better if they were closed down and it was banned altogether.

  • Vivian Caylor

    March 26, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks Senator Nelson for standing up for the environment in Florida!!

  • Debbie Shefner

    March 26, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson. We can not count on the current administration to look after the environment. We must stand against this type of behavior.

  • Cindy Mahoney

    March 27, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Excellent work,Senator Nelson much appreciated!

  • Debra

    March 27, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Thank you Senator Nelson, for always representing our best interests. Thank you for protecting our beaches, backyard, and livelihood. Please continue to fight the devastatig direction of new EPA director.

  • GM

    March 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you for working for Florida’s citizens, our visitors and our environment. I wish we saw Marco Rubio’s name on this.

  • Jim

    March 28, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Off shore drilling is coming, the only question is: is it US companies with our regulations and safe guards or China, Cuba or some other country where we have no say in regulations / safety

  • Susan McNaught

    March 28, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you Senator Nelson!

  • Lynn Gorton

    March 28, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Totally agree. Thank you for your advocacy. LG Sarasota

  • Al Cloutier

    April 6, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Bill Nelson. I’m a new voter in Florida and have decided you’re not ever getting a vote from me. You don’t support President Trumps choice for Supreme Court ., I don’t support you.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn