Florida Senate - 2018                             (NP)    SR 550
       By Senator Broxson
       1-00784-18                                             2018550__
    1                          Senate Resolution                        
    2         A resolution supporting an extension of the current
    3         moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico east of
    4         the Military Mission Line.
    6         WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature represents the military
    7  bases and personnel that maintain, manage, and use the Gulf of
    8  Mexico Range Complex (GOMEX Range Complex) which provides for
    9  the common defense of this state and the nation, and
   10         WHEREAS, defense is the State of Florida’s fourth largest
   11  industry, accounting for more than 775,000 jobs, $80 billion in
   12  economic impact, and 65 percent of the regional economy of
   13  Northwest Florida, and
   14         WHEREAS, testing and training activities conducted from
   15  Florida’s air and sea bases are considerably dependent on
   16  unconstrained access to the Eastern Gulf of Mexico airspace and
   17  seaspace, and
   18         WHEREAS, the GOMEX Range Complex is a unique national
   19  resource, and
   20         WHEREAS, the range is larger than all other training ranges
   21  inside the continental United States combined, stretching from
   22  the Florida Panhandle south to Key West and encompassing the
   23  Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and
   24         WHEREAS, surrounding the GOMEX Range Complex are numerous
   25  United States Department of Defense installations, ranges, and
   26  airspaces, which make the complex unique, and
   27         WHEREAS, originally a place to practice air-to-air
   28  engagements and air-to-surface bombing and strafing, the GOMEX
   29  Range Complex has served the nation for over 60 years, and
   30         WHEREAS, after World War II, the GOMEX Range Complex was
   31  used to test surface-to-air rockets against drones and, with the
   32  advent of fifth-generation aircraft at Tyndall and Eglin Air
   33  Force Bases, has been used extensively to test future weapons
   34  systems, and
   35         WHEREAS, the military missions require day and night access
   36  to the airspace, from the surface up to 60,000 feet, for high
   37  speed flying and maneuvering, as well as day and night access to
   38  the seaspace, from the sea surface to the subsurface areas, for
   39  use by ships and submarines, and
   40         WHEREAS, the military uses live ammunition and missiles
   41  against remotely piloted full-scale targets and drones,
   42  resulting in large debris fields of dangerous objects, and
   43         WHEREAS, for well over a decade and through two
   44  presidential administrations, the United States Department of
   45  Defense policy has been to keep the Eastern Gulf of Mexico free
   46  from obstruction, and
   47         WHEREAS, oil exploration and offshore platforms placed in
   48  the Eastern Gulf of Mexico could jeopardize military missions
   49  and severely reduce the state’s appeal in keeping military
   50  installations, and
   51         WHEREAS, without access to airspace in order to test modern
   52  and emerging weapons systems and train the aircrews that support
   53  such systems, Florida would lose its primary reason for hosting
   54  the GOMEX Range Complex, and
   55         WHEREAS, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) of
   56  2006 restricts oil and gas leasing in all areas east of the
   57  Military Mission Line established at 86°41’ W. longitude and
   58  bans oil and gas leasing within 125 miles of the Florida
   59  coastline in the Eastern Planning Area and in a portion of the
   60  Central Planning Area until 2022, and
   61         WHEREAS, attempts to reduce restrictions on oil and gas
   62  exploration and production arose in 2013 and 2015, when the
   63  members of the United States Senate and the United States House
   64  of Representatives developed and introduced bills to change
   65  GOMESA without addressing the military need to maintain the
   66  GOMEX Range Complex, and
   67         WHEREAS, in 2013, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act was
   68  introduced by United States Representative Doc Hastings of
   69  Washington to propose changes in oil and gas drilling and
   70  exploration locations, and
   71         WHEREAS, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act of 2015 was
   72  introduced by United States Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana,
   73  to increase oil and gas exploration and production, most notably
   74  through reducing the exclusion area east of the Military Mission
   75  Line from 125 miles to 50 miles offshore and through shortening
   76  the time limit of the moratorium from 2022 to 2017, but the bill
   77  ultimately did not advance past committee, and GOMESA remained
   78  intact for the time being, and
   79         WHEREAS, the United States Secretary of Defense, the Chief
   80  of Staff of the United States Air Force, and fifteen members of
   81  the United States Congress from Florida have written letters
   82  requesting an extension to the moratorium, which is essential
   83  for developing and sustaining the military’s future capabilities
   84  and for guaranteeing long-term capabilities for future test
   85  missions that may enable new technologies such as hypersonic
   86  fifth-generation fighters, advanced subsurface weapons systems,
   87  and other projects that require enlarged testing and training
   88  footprints well beyond 2022, and
   89         WHEREAS, without the certainty of an extension to the
   90  moratorium, investment in upgrades in telemetry, tracking, and
   91  other important improvements are at risk, and
   92         WHEREAS, in March 2017, twenty local county commissions,
   93  chambers of commerce, local economic development councils, and
   94  military affairs committees drafted resolutions in support of
   95  the moratorium and submitted them to the Florida Legislature,
   98  Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of Florida:
  100         That the State of Florida must maintain a united front in
  101  supporting an extension of the current moratorium on drilling in
  102  the Gulf of Mexico east of the Military Mission Line.
  103         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that to allow drilling east of the
  104  Military Mission Line would mean loss of range areas and
  105  possible relocation of aircraft and bases to other unrestricted
  106  range areas.
  107         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Florida Senate supports an
  108  indefinite extension of the restriction, specified in the Gulf
  109  of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, oil and gas leasing in
  110  all areas east of the Military Mission Line established at
  111  86°41’ W. longitude and indefinite extension of the Act’s ban
  112  oil and gas leasing within 125 miles of the Florida coastline in
  113  the Eastern Planning Area and in a portion of the Central
  114  Planning Area.