House Bill Could Clear Way for Oil Drilling Near Florida Shore

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would give Florida officials control over a 100-mile buffer around the state.

Members of the Florida Public Interest Research Froup fear the bill could ultimately lead to Florida officials allowing drilling near the shore.

Mark Ferrulo, a FPIRG spokesman, said, “What we’re most concerned about is that this will immediately lead to opening up some of the panhandle’s most pristine beaches, in particularly Pensacola, which gets no protection under this bill. It also paves the way for expanded drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which lays the groundwork for coming closer and closer to our beaches.”

The battle now moves to the U.S. Senate.

Jeb Bush says if the bill passes, he’ll push for a special state legislative session in November to establish a moratorium on drilling in the 100-mile buffer zone.