This blog was written by Kelsey Grentzer, former Florida Communications Coordinator at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
Amendment 9 passed in Florida’s midterm elections tonight, adding a ban on offshore drilling in state waters to the state’s Constitution. As of 10pm, the ballot initiative received approximately 68 percent of the vote, as Floridians across the state voiced their support for protecting our coasts.
The new constitutional ban will prohibit drilling for exploration or extraction for both oil and gas in Florida’s state waters, which extend three nautical miles from the shore on the Atlantic coast and nine nautical miles on the Gulf coast. The amendment also updates the existing ban on enclosed workplace smoking to include vaping devices, such as e-cigarettes.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Florida Director, Susan Glickman, celebrated this victory stating “This a vital step for Florida, ensuring long-term protection of the state’s beaches and marine life — as well as the tourism that comes along with them that drives the state’s economy. At a time when the federal government has announced its intent to open all U.S. coasts to drilling, passing Amendment 9 sends a message to policymakers that Floridians want to protect the state’s coast from the risks of oil and gas extraction. Voters have made it loud and clear: we do not want offshore drilling anywhere near our coasts. It’s just not worth the risk to our environment, our economy and our way of life here in Florida.”
Although there is currently a state statute prohibiting drilling in Florida’s state waters, in 2009, the Florida House of Representatives voted to lift the ban. However, the State Senate did not concur. Amendment 9 now provides a more permanent safeguard to protect Florida’s coasts from opportunists who would put the environment and economy at risk for the narrow interests of the oil and gas industry. As an alternative to offshore drilling, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy strongly supports the electrification of the transportation sector and more electric vehicles that reduce air pollution and the demand for oil.
We thank all of the volunteers and members who spread the word and encouraged support for Amendment 9 – this was truly a community victory!