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Bill Nelson lifts Senate hold on energy bill after winning off-shore concession

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Florida’s senior U.S. Sen Bill Nelson on Wednesday lifted a procedural hold he used to block the Senate energy bill after an amendment was withdrawn that would have rewarded states that have off-shore drilling.

Nelson, a staunch opponent of off-shore drilling, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean or anywhere off Florida, lifted his hold, freeing the energy bill to move, after U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, withdrew the amendment that offended him, Nelson’s office announced Wednesday.

The amendment would have steered more revenue to states that allow off-shore drilling. Another amendment that was anti off-shore drilling also was withdrawn as part of a deal, according to Nelson’s office.

Nelson placed his hold on Senate Bill 2012 in February.

“We had yet another small victory today in our ongoing fight to keep oil rigs away from Florida’s coast,” Nelson stated in a news release issued by his office. “I’ve spent four decades fighting to protect Florida’s coast from the threat of offshore drilling and I’ve made it clear to my colleagues in the Senate that I’m certainly not going to stop now.”

The same bill also had a hold placed on it by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, because Republicans had blocked efforts to include infrastructure aid for Flint, Mich.,’s lead-plagued water system and for similar water systems across the country, according to Politico.

A deal was struck to include that money in another bill, and Stabenow lifted her hold as well, Politico reported.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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