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U.S. House Passes 2 Bills Banning New Offshore Drilling

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The U.S. House has passed two bills banning new offshore oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast and Florida's Gulf Coast.

Credit Heather Schatz / WJCT News
Rep. John Rutherford is pictured with First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross during an August 21 interview in WJCT's Studio 5.

H.R. 205, which is called the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act, would extend the current ban on oil and gas leasing in the Eastern Gulf and protect the current military mission line.

H.R. 1941, known as the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, would codify that the Atlantic and Pacific remain closed to offshore drilling.

Related: Rutherford Introduces Bill To Ban Seismic Testing In The Atlantic

Both pieces of legislation, which were passed Wednesday, are now headed to the Senate for consideration.

“By passing these bills today, Congress is reclaiming its authority to determine when and where our coasts may be opened to offshore drilling – a decision currently left in the hands of unelected federal bureaucrats,” said Northeast Florida Rep. John Rutherford, R-FL4, who voted in favor of both bills.

CNBC reported the legislation could hamper President Donald Trump’s push to expand offshore oil and gas development.

“I have consistently opposed drilling off the Florida coast because of the harm it poses to military readiness, our pristine beaches, and our state’s tourism-based economy, and I am pleased to see these bills advance to the Senate,” said Rutherford in an email to WJCT News.

CNBC reported the bills are not expected to gain traction in the Republican-led Senate.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.