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Florida congressmen say Ryan to support ban on eastern Gulf drilling

Oil rig
An offshore production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Julie Dermansky / Corbis via Getty Images

With the Interior Department looking to greatly expand the coastal regions made available for oil and natural gas drilling, Florida GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Francis Rooney told Politico that House Speaker Paul Ryan has pledged to push for a ban on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: Republican support for President Trump's "energy dominance" agenda has a limit, and one of the areas most likely to fall off the final drilling plan is offshore Florida. NIMBYism — not in my backyard — is a tried and true practice. Florida's politicians from both parties have long opposed drilling off their coastline given the state's dependence on beach tourism and fears of an oil spill.

What they're saying, per Politico:

  • “There is a governmental funding bill that has to be passed later this month,” Gaetz told Politico. “Francis Rooney and I had a conversation about this with Speaker Ryan, who gave Rooney and I a commitment that eastern Gulf moratorium language will be in the must-pass bill.”
  • Rooney said he is drafting language to ensure the current moratorium doesn't expire, adding that Ryan said House leadership will assist his efforts.

Yesterday, Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) said that Rep. Rob Bishop, (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, "told him that a proposal extending the moratorium on drilling for 40 years would be brought up in his committee," Politico reported.