Municipalities United Against Offshore Drilling and Exploration Across Florida Keys

Layton the Final Municipality in the Keys to Oppose Offshore Drilling Activities

Press Release Date Friday, July 13, 2018 Location: City of Layton, Florida, Contact: Loryn Baughman © OCEANA / Juan Cuetos

City of Layton, Florida – The City of Layton be­came the sixth and final municipality in the Florida Keys to unanimously pass a resolution against offshore drilling and exploration, including seismic airgun blasting. This follows Key Colony Beach (6/14/2018), Marathon (3/27/2018), Key West (3/21/2018), Monroe County (4/12/2017) and Islamorada (9/8/2016). In total, 72 municipalities in Florida have formally opposed offshore drilling activities off their shores. The City of Layton adds to the growing national opposition, which includes 282 municipalities across the country.

In January, the Trump administration announced plans to open nearly all U.S. waters, including both of Florida’s coasts, to offshore drilling activities. Just days after the announcement, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke tweeted that Florida would be exempt from the plan, however no formal exemption was issued.

“Despite Secretary Zinke’s tweet, Florida is still included in the official offshore drilling plan. Our coastline will not be safe until the Trump administration fully reverses course on this rash and ill-informed proposal,” said Alison Johnson, Oceana’s southeast campaign manager. “We commend all municipalities in the Keys for rejecting dangerous offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting. Giving the oil industry unfettered access to our nation’s oceans is a recipe for disaster.”

Johnson, a former marine biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, recalls conducting scuba surveys for oil after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster that spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil. “Although we were lucky in the Keys not to see oil washing up on our beaches, we still suffered millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue due to the threat of those impacts,” said Johnson.

Numerous fishing and tourism interests, including local chambers of commerce, tourism and restaurant associations, all three East Coast Fishery Management Councils, and an alliance representing over 42,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have all expressed concern or opposition to offshore drilling and exploration, citing threats to marine life, coastal communities and local economies. The Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, Florida Defense Support Task Force and NASA have also raised concerns that expanded offshore oil and gas development would threaten their ability to perform critical training and testing activities.

“In Florida alone, healthy oceans provide over 609,000 jobs and over $37 billion in annual GDP, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation,” added Johnson. “Oil spills do not respect state boundaries and Floridians will continue to stand up against expanded offshore drilling until the plug is pulled on this radical plan.”

For more information, please visit www.StopTheDrill.org.

Original story available at: https://usa.oceana.org/press-releases/municipalities-united-against-offshore-drilling-and-exploration-across-florida-keys