Executive order on drilling raises concern

- President Donald Trump has ordered that exploration for oil off Florida's Atlantic Coast can proceed, while his interior secretary says options in the Gulf of Mexico may be explored as well.

"We are unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high paying American energy jobs," said President Trump.

Seven years after the BP oil spill, which cost the Gulf's fishing industry $250 million, President Trump reversed a President Obama ban on exploration in the Atlantic.

"What would it do for the fishing industry, what would it do for the rest of the people who make a living catching fish, if one of those offshore rigs had a problem?" said one swimmer in Tampa Bay.

The interior secretary also says they will look at drilling within 125 miles off the Gulf Coast.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) released a letter Monday showing the Pentagon is worried about what impact oil rigs would have on training.

He also fears a BP-like accident.

"We have not dodged a bullet," said Nelson. "If he allows oil drilling off of Georgia, that oil can drift south onto our beaches just like the oil that was spilled in Louisiana."

The Florida chapter of the Sierra Club argues ocean drilling would deepen dependence on energy that produces greenhouse gases.

"Our national security, our energy future is best protected by tapping solar energy, wind power," said Frank Jackalone of the Florida chapter of the Sierra Club.

Still, some at the beach said an accident was a concern, but hoped to get oil from under our seas, as opposed to overseas.

"We have enough oil here, in the United States, why should we pay them to ship it here?" asked swimmer Ricky Dunter.

The Sierra Club says its possible that parts of Trump's executive order could be fought in court, which could further delay drilling.

Nelson's counterpart, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), did not return our request for comment.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Executive order on drilling raises concern
  • Withlacoochee expected to crest Wednesday
  • Neo-Nazi takes plea deal on explosives charges
  • Polk to use early release days as hurricane make-up days
  • Puerto Ricans on the mainland watch, wait after Maria devastates U.S. territory
  • Polk rejects plan to light road where teen was killed
  • After Dunedin school serves as shelter, 80 books missing from classroom
  • Time drags for those waiting for news from Puerto Rico
  • AMBER ALERT: 4 children missing from Manatee Co.
  • Wisconsin logger helps clear debris after Irma