Florida Lawmakers Work to Protect Military’s Gulf Test and Training Range

Drilling Activity Threatens “Incomparable National Asset,” Reps. Say

WASHINGTON, DC – Dr. Neal Dunn (FL-02) and a bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers are urging the Trump Administration to protect the Joint Gulf Range Complex by maintaining the moratorium on oil and gas offshore drilling activities in the Gulf of Mexico. In a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the lawmakers call the Joint Gulf Range Complex “an incomparable national asset” and ask for his support for the current moratorium beyond its expiration in 2022.

“Allowing oil and gas leasing activities in the areas under moratoria will create insurmountable risks to civilian and military personnel, military assets, and drilling infrastructure. We fear that combat training and advanced test and evaluation missions would be unable to continue if the moratorium was lifted,” the lawmakers say. “Prior military leaders have described the Joint Gulf Range Complex as a ‘national treasure.’ Consequently, we respectfully seek your support for maintaining the moratorium beyond 2022 and the incomparable national asset we have in the Joint Range Complex.”

The Joint Gulf Range Complex is used for high-altitude, supersonic air combat training for frontline fighters like the F-22 and the F-35, live-fire air-to-air and air-to-ground training, air-to-air missile testing, electronic warfare, drone targeting, and Naval sub-surface, air-to-surface and surface-to-surface testing, including mine and counter-mine operations. This vast range allows for hypersonic weapons testing and space launch.

Joining Dr. Dunn on the letter are Representatives Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Ted Yoho (FL-03), John Rutherford (FL-04), Al Lawson (FL-05), Bill Posey (FL-08), Darren Soto (FL-09), Daniel Webster (FL-11), Francis Rooney (FL-19), Brian Mast (FL-18), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Dennis Ross (FL-15), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12).