Ocean Protection, Updates, Not the answer
November 16 2018

Floridians Ban Nearshore Oil & Gas Exploration

by Holly Parker

On November 6th, approximately 69% of voters in Florida said YES to clean, healthy beaches and NO to dirty, dangerous offshore drilling. Amendment 9 was one of eight amendments placed on the ballot by the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC). The CRC meets every twenty years to consider new amendments to the Florida Constitution and its members are appointed by the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House, and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Amendments that the CRC approves are placed on the ballot for a vote of the people, where they need 60% approval for adoption.

Amendment 9 prohibits drilling, either for exploration or extraction, of oil or natural gas in state waters. This prohibition includes the ocean from shoreline to the outermost boundaries of the state’s territorial seas. The amendment also banned tobacco vaping/ e-cigarettes in enclosed indoor workplaces. If you’re wondering why vaping and offshore drilling are in the same amendment proposal, you can thank the CRC for that. The CRC thought that too many constitutional amendment proposals would lead to voter fatigue, so they opted to “bundle” many of the amendments together.

Florida already had a ban on nearshore drilling in its statutes, but in 2009 the Florida Legislature very nearly eliminated those protections and opened state waters to drilling. Only because of the Deepwater Horizon disaster did Florida halt the drilling proposal. That's why constitutionally prohibiting offshore drilling so important for the Sunshine State. Florida’s tourism economy, natural resources, and abundant recreational opportunities rely on clean water and healthy beaches. Thank you to the countless Surfrider Foundation volunteers and activists that called, emailed, canvassed, attended public hearings, and worked to make sure that Amendment 9 passed.