Offshore drilling is currently banned in Florida’s coastal waters. But that may not last. Current laws ban drilling in state waters, which extend three miles out from the shore; however, Florida has no control over the federal waters that extend past that. There is a lot unknown about the future of offshore drilling in Florida. But how did we get here? In this two-part article, a Florida contractor lawyer at Cotney Construction Law will discuss the events that led to reform in the oil industry and what it means for Florida coastlines.
On April 20, 2010, An explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused the deaths of 11 workers. Subsequently, 184 million gallons of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in what became the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Deepwater Horizon leaked for a total of 87 days before finally being capped on July 15, 2010.
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama were all impacted by the oil spill. 73,341 pounds of oil residue were collected during clean up efforts in Florida. The oil spill was catastrophic for wildlife, touring, and fishing, all of which rely on Florida’s clean waters and beaches to thrive.
The Fallout of the BP Oil Spill
In the wake of the oil spill, BP was deemed negligent with regards to the accident by pressuring workers and ignoring safety violations. Lawsuits and federal penalties, including a $5.5 billion Clean Water Act penalty, soon followed. In total, BP has spent $61.6 billion for clean-up costs, penalties, property damage, medical expenses, and court fees. In addition to the penalizing of BP, a commission was created to study the spill and create new rules and regulations to prevent such a spill from ever happening again. Former President Barack Obama passed an executive order to protect U.S. oceans and the Great Lakes.
Despite the above legislation, the future of offshore drilling in Florida remains hazy. Remember, regardless of the scope of work, for assistance with construction regulations and labor laws on all your projects, a Florida contractor lawyer is standing by.
If you would like to know more about the current state of offshore drilling in Florida, please read part two.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.