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House Approves Bilirakis Amendment to Protect Florida Tourism

February 15, 2012
Bilirakis Blog

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-09) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday for supporting his amendment to the Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security (PIONEERS) Act, which the House will vote on later this week.

The amendment would require the Interior Department to conduct an economic impact survey to determine the economic effects that lease sales within 100 miles of the coast of Florida will have on the Florida fishing and tourism industries.

Watch Gus speak about his amendment on the House Floor here:

Remarks as prepared:

With the national unemployment rate hovering around eight percent and my home state of Florida's rate close to 10 percent, there is no question that our nation is hurting for economic growth. This year the focus of efforts here in the House of Representatives have centered on creating a framework for the private sector to innovate and grow to create the jobs we desperately need.

To that end, Mr. Chairman, my amendment seeks to take all prudent steps to ensure that jobs and the economy are the focus. My amendment simply requires the Secretary to conduct an economic impact survey to assess any effect lease sales would have on the Florida tourism and fishing industries.

People from all over the world flock to the Gulf Coast of Florida specifically to visit our spectacular beaches, our parks, our waterfronts, and other recreational opportunities. More than 80 million tourists per year stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, and create many economic opportunities for Floridians. The tourism industry is a multi-billion dollar industry for Florida and the national economy. Florida's seafood and recreational fishing industries also contribute thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the local economy.

Mr. Chairman, I simply urge this House adopt this common sense measure to ensure the federal government consider all effects of lease sales and to ensure that promotion of jobs and economy remain the focus of any actions of our federal government.

I yield back.