Q&A of the Day – What does the expanded ban on offshore drilling mean for Florida?
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: Brian, help me understand something. Oil drilling still happens in the gulf so what is it that the ban on drilling does? Also, does the ban on our coast do anything? I’ve never heard of drilling on the east coast.
Bottom Line: On back of President Trump’s signing of an executive order extending and expanding the moratorium on Florida offshore drilling through 2032, this is a good question. Understanding the jurisdiction of coastal waters isn’t often explained. In the ocean you have three jurisdictions:
- State: waters up to 3 miles on Florida’s Atlantic coast & 9 miles on the Gulf coast
- Federal: starts where state waters end and extends for up to 200 miles or where another country’s jurisdiction begins (applies to Cuba and numerous Bahamian islands off Florida’s coast)
- International: All other waters
President Trump’s order specifically impacts federal waters. Federal law currently prohibits drilling off Florida’s Gulf coast until 2022 but included no protections for our Atlantic coast. Trump’s order takes current law, expands it to include the Atlantic Coast and extends it for ten years beyond the current law. So yes, it does include new protections for Florida and specifically our coast in South East Florida – though no, we’ve not had any offshore drilling on Florida’s Atlantic coast previously. As for the waters closest to us, the state waters untouched by this order, Florida has had a ban on drilling within its waters since 1992. Florida has never had sustained offshore drilling (once upon a time experimental drilling did occur) and based on current state law along with the existing and extended federal protections it won’t for the foreseeable future.