Florida Dems seek moratoria on offshore oil exploration

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonPoll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade MORE (D-Fla.) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, along with Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Trump decision on Korea summit coming 'next week' | China disinvited from major naval exercise | Senate sends VA reform bill to Trump Senate sends major VA reform bill to Trump's desk What's wrong with the Democratic Party? Just look at California MORE (I-Vt.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Pompeo lays out new Iran terms | Pentagon hints at more aggressive posture against Iran | House, Senate move on defense bill Defense bill moves forward with lawmakers thinking about McCain Overnight Defense: Trump aide's comment mocking McCain sparks outrage | Haspel gets another 'no' vote | Pompeo floats North Korea aid for denuclearization MORE (D-R.I.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFormer US attorneys urge support for Trump nominee The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Republicans see some daylight in midterm polling Senate panel clears bill to bolster probes of foreign investment deals MORE (D-Calif.). Rep Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) is a House co-sponsor, and other House members will back the bill by day’s end, an aide to Meek said.

The bill would specifically halt any new exploration, development and production in federal waters, including seismic tests.

Also, it says that exploration already underway should be suspended unless the Interior Department certifies that it doesn’t pose a “significant risk” if accident. Nelson’s office emphasized that the measure would not block current oil production.

The measure also suspends work on the Obama administration plan to open new areas for development in the 2012-2017 period.

The administration in late March announced plans for leasing in areas along the Atlantic Coast, which until 2008 was under a drilling moratorium, and wider leasing in Arctic waters.

As part of the plan, the administration is calling on Congress to shrink the no-drilling buffer in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, although it would keep rigs 125 miles from Florida’s Gulf shores.

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOn North Korea, give Trump some credit The mainstream media — the lap dogs of the deep state and propaganda arm of the left The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ MORE last week said that new offshore leases would not be issued until the Interior Department had conducted a 30-day review of new safeguards that may be needed. However, no lease sales are scheduled within that time frame anyway.

Interior also dispatched inspectors to deepwater exploration and production platforms after the spill.

Longer term, administration officials have acknowledged that the Gulf disaster will factor into their decision-making as they craft the specifics of the plan to expand leasing into new areas.