Visit Florida President Ken Lawson and Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, commander of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, are among scheduled panelists for a Florida congressional delegation hearing Thursday on drilling off the state’s coasts.
Also scheduled to appear during the hearing in Washington are Mark Alderson, executive director of the Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program, and Ken Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute.
The hearing comes amid continued debate over plans by President Donald Trump’s administration to allow oil and gas drilling in federal waters off various parts of the country.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appeared in January in Tallahassee and said drilling would not occur off Florida’s coasts. He repeated his stance last Thursday before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.
However, the administration’s stance has continued to draw questions as the waters off Florida’s coast haven’t officially been removed from the proposal.
The issue involves waters beyond the nation’s outer continental shelf --- a jurisdictional term describing submerged lands 10.36 statutory miles off Florida's West Coast and three nautical miles off the East Coast. Thursday’s one-hour hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building is set to begin at 8:30 a.m.