LEE COUNTY, Fla — The website Politico reports President Trump’s interior department is considering leasing waters in the Gulf of Mexico for oil drilling. The plan could pick up steam once the President’s choice for Interior Secretary former lobbyist David Bernhardt is confirmed.
Trump supporter Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Naples) is opposed to the plan and says it could derail Trump’s hopes for winning Florida in the 2020 election.
"If they tried to do this 5 year leasing program, I'm gonna join with some of the environmental groups that are coming after him,” said Rooney.
Rooney filed a bill to extend a ban on drilling in certain parts off the gulf, the bill has support from other Republican members of Congress. He says the gulf is still trying to recover from the devastation of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010.
"There's one spill called the Taylor spill, that's been continuous for 10 or 15 years, even Shell Oil had some spills recently," added Rooney.
Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani says the gulf already has problems with "dead zones" areas where there is so much bacteria buildup it chokes off oxygen for the marine life.
"If you add an oil spill to that, it's game over for Florida.”
The Florida Democratic Party responded to Trump’s drilling proposal in a statement:
“Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio claim they care about Florida's economy and environment, but they stand idly by as the Trump administration sells out Florida’s precious natural resources to Big Oil and Gas.
Protecting our beaches is key to our tourism-driven economy –– Trump’s plan to expand oil drilling off our coasts would destroy both our economy and our environment.”
"After speaking with Acting Secretary Bernhardt, the White House, and leadership in the Senate, I am confident that when all is said and done the ban on oil drilling off of Florida's coasts will remain in place," Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said in a statement Wednesday night.
Fox 4 reached out to Governor DeSantis, Senators Scott and the Interior Department for comment.