BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Several local and state leaders are praising President Trump after he extended the moratorium on off-shore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico for ten more years.
Some are calling it a historic decision, protecting the state’s natural resources and the country’s largest over-water military test and training range.
The current moratorium was set to expire in 2022.
All branches of the military do weapons and equipment testing and pilot training scenarios in the eastern Gulf range, which amounts to about 35 thousand operations every year.
Local defense community leaders said the moratorium extension is a big deal for Bay County, since the range is a major driver for military operations in our area.
The economic impact of defense in Bay County is more than $3 billion every year; in the entire state, defense adds about $95 billion to the state economy annually.
“This is very important for national defense, it’s very important for our community and what most people don’t realize is this was a State of Florida state priority,” said Tom Neubauer, President of the Bay Defense Alliance. “The Florida Defense Support Task Force, the legislature and the governor placed top three priorities for the state of Florida, this was number two.”
Neubauer said the number one priority is bringing Space Force, in part, to Florida… and number three is the rebuild of Tyndall Air Force base as “the base of the future.”
Community leaders said the installment’s access to the Gulf Test and Training Range was a large factor in the decision to rebuild the base, and they’re excited to see Tyndall remain a top priority for state and national defense leaders.