U.S. Offshore Oil Industry Focused on Eastern Gulf of Mexico

In early 2018, Secretary Zinke made a promise to then-Governor Rick Scott that Florida would be removed from the offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2019 – 2024. Although a vague promise with no clear definition as to which waters Zinke considered “Florida’s”, the statement was somewhat comforting to Floridians. Now, with Secretary Zinke’s departure imminent and a new year upon us, there is cause for concern about the future of Florida’s gulf coast. A recent S&P Global article states that the U.S. offshore oil industry is mainly focused on drilling in the Gulf and expanding into areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, currently under a congressional drilling moratorium until 2022. As stated in the article,  “Under the Interior’s draft proposal, there are a total of 12 Gulf of Mexico lease sales planned through 2024… the Trump administration is expected to retain all of these sales in their proposed plan expected next month, according to industry lobbyists.” So, what does this all mean for Florida’s coast? Until the final plan is released, without any mention of drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s gulf coast is not safe. To read the full article click here.