Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 6, 2018

Contact: Sarah Gledhill, (904) 347-6490,

Florida Voters Pass Constitutional Amendment Banning Oil, Gas Drilling in State Waters

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Floridians today banned offshore oil and gas drilling in Florida’s state waters with the apparent passage of Amendment 9. The constitutional amendment prohibits oil and gas exploration activities three miles into the Atlantic Ocean and nine miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

The vote was 68 percent in favor with 84 percent of precincts counted, but the result won’t be final until all ballots are counted. The measure requires a 60 percent super-majority to pass. Center for Biological Diversity and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy helped lead the campaign to educate voters on Amendment 9, which also bans the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public workplaces.

“Floridians just protected our coastline from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling. This is great news for coastal communities and the clean, tourist-friendly beaches we depend on,” said Sarah Gledhill, Florida field campaigner at the Center. “By passing Amendment 9, Floridians are sending a loud message to President Trump that we oppose his reckless plan to expand offshore drilling.”

Florida is one of the most biodiverse states in the nation. Thousands of endangered sea turtles nest on its beaches every summer alongside threatened birds such as brown pelicans and roseate spoonbills. Apalachicola Bay has a hugely productive oyster fishery, and St. Augustine is the only known calving grounds for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. All would be threatened by pollution and oil spills from offshore drilling.

The Trump administration is now pushing a plan to expand offshore drilling in federal waters of the Gulf, Atlantic and almost every U.S. ocean, which is set for approval next year. Amendment 9 won’t affect those federal offshore leases. More than 75 percent of Floridians live in coastal counties. The state’s beaches rank among the top in the world and attract approximately 18.6 million tourists each year.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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