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House Passes Bills Banning Drilling Off Atlantic, Pacific And Florida Coasts

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The House of Representatives passed two bipartisan bills banning offshore oil and gas drilling in a major part of the U.S. coast.

The bill to ban oil and gas leasing off the coast of Atlantic and Pacific oceans was passed by 238 to 189 votes.

South Carolina Democrat representative Joe Cunningham, who sponsored the H.R. 1941 measure, said, "Today the House took definitive action to ensure there are never any oil rigs off South Carolina's shores".

The Protecting and Securing Florida's Coastline Act was passed by a vote of 248 - 180 and will now head to the Senate for consideration. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa, Fla.) co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Naples, Fla).

"The Department of Defense's use of the Gulf of Mexico to maintain military readiness has galvanized bipartisan congressional support in opposition to Trump's push to give his powerful oil and gas corporations free rein to bring dirty oil rigs to the Florida coast," Castor said in a statement.

Rooney said Floridians overwhelmingly support the idea as evidenced by the 69 percent approval of a 2018 state constitutional amendment banning offshore drilling off the coast of Florida. T"he military has supported this as well, since the Eastern Gulf is America's largest testing ground," he added.

The moratorium on drilling and exploration in the eastern gulf will expire in 2022.

While the Trump administration has worked to open areas in the Gulf of Mexico and coastal areas to drilling, the Democratic-led House of Representatives was against it.

The large scale oil leak from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout nine years ago was the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.

The accident that took place off the Florida coast spilled tens of thousands of liters of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing widespread environmental damage.

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