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Nelson Files Bill Banning Oil And Gas Exploration Off Florida East Coast

Nelson says the oil and gas exploration would take place right off the Space Coast. Photo by Amy Green

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson announced Friday he’s filing legislation banning oil and gas exploration off Florida’s East Coast.

The measure puts the central Florida Democrat at odds with President Barack Obama, who approved the seismic testing last summer.

Seismic testing involves blasts of sound deep in the ocean every 10 to 12 seconds. Environmentalists say the sound would have a widespread and long-lasting impact on sea life.

Nelson says the oil and gas exploration is a first step toward drilling.

“Is it worth it to us to kill our tourism industry? Is it worth it to us to kill our space and defense industry that launches rockets from the East Coast?”

He says the environmental and economic consequences of drilling are obvious. But he says Florida is unique because rigs would be in the same ocean where rockets fall back from space.

Nelson joins a growing number of communities along the Atlantic Coast including in Florida opposed to seismic testing.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »