SARASOTA (WWSB) - A resolution passed by a Florida Senate Committee Wednesday calls for a continued moratorium on oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to help prevent conflicts with military training.
The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs and Space Committee unanimously approved the non-binding measure filed by State Senator Ed Hooper. He says Florida’s Gulf Coast waters offer the U.S. military a training region unlike anywhere else in the nation.
Even the potential for any oil drilling expansion could jeopardize thousands of military jobs in the state.
“It’s important for our airbases and our naval training centers," Hooper said. "They do use live ammunition and weaponry occasionally. That would not go well with a derrick that is out drilling oil in the gulf.”
However, supporters of offshore oil drilling, including David Mica with the Florida Petroleum Council, say the need for domestic oil production is expanding.
“It is critical that our nation’s national security be protected," Mica said. "It’s also very important, that as an element of that protection, that we develop our resources associated with oil and gas.”
Hooper’s legislation must pass one more committee in the Senate before being heard by the whole chamber, while a similar bill in the House is ready for floor debate.