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Federal Bill to Allow New Florida Oil Exploration Could Be Domino

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein says she'll help block a major energy and water spending bill that will open U.S. coastlines to oil exploration. From Capitol Hill, Ben Tabor has the story.

Federal Bill to Allow New Florida Oil Exploration Could Be Domino

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein says she'll help block a major energy and water spending bill that will open U.S. coastlines to oil exploration. From Capitol Hill, Ben Tabor has the story.

The yearly appropriation bill pays for conservation programs, including flood protection in California. But Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is blocking the bill because a provision will open the Florida Gulf Coast to new oil exploration. Feinstein spoke on the Senate subway on the way to a vote.

Feinstein : I think this is a misbegotten effort and the interests of California are similar with the interests of Florida in this matter.

Both California and Florida have restrictions on off-shore drilling. But environmental groups worry that if congress lifts protections in Florida, miles of California coastline could be next. Nelson is working to convince Democratic leaders to strip the provision before the bill reaches a full vote.

From Washington, I'm Ben Tabor, for KPBS radio.