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Bill Nelson blasts proposal to allow offshore drilling near Florida coast

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor Wednesday (Feb. 3rd) to launch a fierce assault against a legislative initiative to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by providing states huge financial incentives to increase energy exploration.

Displaying a large map of the gulf, Nelson accused Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, of offering a “secret amendment” to a broad energy bill that would boost revenue-sharing for states that allow offshore oil and natural gas production.

The amendment would provide $1.5 billion over 15 years to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama for increased energy production. It would also create new revenue-sharing streams for Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Alaska.

“Off of Louisiana there are not many beaches,” Nelson said. “Off of Mississippi there are not many beaches. Off of Alabama — not many beaches. But what do you think Florida is known for? Its pristine beaches all the way from the Perdido River, which is the Florida-Alabama line, all the way down the coast, all the way to Naples and then not only to the Keys, but up the East Coast of Florida.”