Q&A – What Does The Expanded Offshore Drilling Ban Mean For Florida?

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:

  1. State: waters up to 3 miles on Florida’s Atlantic coast and 9 miles on the Gulf coast.
  2. Federal: starts where state waters end and extend for up to 200 miles or where another country’s jurisdiction begins. Appling to Cuba and numerous Bahamian islands off Florida’s coast.
  3. 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, but once upon a time had experimental drilling. Based on current state law along with the existing and extended federal protections it won’t for the foreseeable future.

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Photo by: Getty Images

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