U.S. offshore drilling: Florida wins exemption from Trump plan

14 January, 2018, 00:06 | Author: Edward Fernandez
  • Is An Offshore Drilling Boom In The Cards?

In furtherance of President Trump's misguided effort to ramp up domestic production of oil and gas, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced last week that almost all federal waters off the USA coastline would be opened to drilling.

A couple of days after the announcement, Interior Secretary Zinke agreed with the president and said Florida would be exempt from any offshore drilling expansion. "I would like to thank Secretary Zinke for coming to Tallahassee today following my request for a meeting last week to hear our concerns about oil drilling off Florida's coast", Scott said in a statement on Tuesday.

In an interview with CNN, Sanford said the exemption from the Trump administration's new plan to open 98% of the US's offshore waters to drilling for Florida smacked of politics since the state is important in presidential elections.

The drilling proposal, announced last week, includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas - 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic region.

Zinke, who "hastily" held a press conference after meeting with Gov. Scott, went on to endorse Gov. Scott - who is widely rumored to be considering a run for the U.S. Senate - calling him "a straightforward leader that can be trusted". Scott said drilling wouldn't happen in the "foreseeable future.We are not going to drill now.It's not safe".

"New York doesn't want drilling off our coast either", tweet New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In a Wednesday interview with The Washington Post, Zinke said he first met Scott when his state and the federal government were preparing for Hurricane Irma, then a second time when the two worked on Everglades restoration.

The move was seen by many as a naked political ploy - a way to boost Scott's standing in the state, where offshore drilling is deeply unpopular, while pushing ahead on the plan in states like California where there are fewer local Republicans to worry about helping.

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Democrats and environmentalists have accused Zinke of making a purely political calculation in order to bolster Scott, who may run for a US Senate seat now held by Bill Nelson, a Democrat.

Florida is officially off the table for offshore oil drilling. Governors of other East Coast states - including Maryland and North and SC - have also voiced objections.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, tweeted his support for Scott and Florida's congressional delegation Tuesday and their opposition to drilling.

Well, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is a Republican.

Republican members of Congress were also not pleased with the new drilling plans nor with the limited exemption for Florida.

"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts".

"These ocean waters are not President Trump's personal playground", a coalition of more than 60 environmental groups said in a statement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra demanded Zinke to "immediately" remove California from the policy. "California and other coastal states also rely on our attractive coasts for tourism and our economy".

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