Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Now Other States Want The Offshore Drilling Deal Florida Got

Now Other States Want The Offshore Drilling Deal Florida Got

The Trump administration has announced it's removing Florida coasts from consideration for offshore oil drilling.

By Wednesday afternoon, state attorneys general, joined by environmental groups, were suggesting that Zinke had undermined the entire drilling rule with his high-profile visit to Tallahassee, Florida, where he heaped praise on "straightforward, easy to work for" Gov. Rick Scott, R - a political ally whom Trump has repeatedly urged to run for the U.S. Senate.

The governors of almost all states along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts have joined Scott in calling for their shores to be removed from Zinke's plan as well. "Where do we sign up for a waiver?"

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said on Twitter that his state, "like Florida, has hundreds of miles of attractive coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way". South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is also asking for an exemption for his state, citing the possible effects on the tourism industry there.

The proposed drilling plan announced today [January 4] by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would radically expand offshore drilling in essentially all waters off the United States coastline, and auction off permanently protected areas.

"The plan would determine the size, timing and location of leasing activities and would replace President Barack Obama's 2017-2022 program".

"There are multiple uses of the outer continental shelf, and one form of energy development does not take precedence over another", Moriarty said.

"That's in comparison with the 94 percent that is now off limits, according to the administration". The National Ocean Industries Association described the Interior secretary's announcement as "considering limiting areas offshore Florida".

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Asked to respond to reports of vocal opposition to that plan in coastal communities, Gerard stressed that "it's a first step in a long process", adding that "polls say Americans want their resources developed". "They will not get the Atlantic without one hell of a fight!"

"President Trump has directed me to rebuild our offshore oil and gas program in a manner that supports our national energy policy and also takes into consideration the local and state voice". Florida, Zinke said, was "unique", with its coasts "heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver". But on Tuesday, following objections from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Zinke said Florida would be exempt from the plan. Leaders in California, Oregon, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington have also requested exemptions.

If this unsafe offshore plan moves ahead, we can expect decades of more catastrophic oil spills, hurricanes, floods, droughts and wildfires. Bill Nelson said he believes the sudden change of decision should not be credited to Governor Scott.

GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire told reporters "of course" he opposed drilling off the New Hampshire coast. Drilling has continued on older, pre-existing leases.

Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal issued a statement that he "has some concerns with opening up Georgia's pristine coastlines" and will convey his views to Georgia's congressional delegation. The governors of OR and Washington are expected to do the same.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, called Zinke's action troubling and said singling out one state for exemption "may well violate federal law".

In that statement, Zinke implicitly conceded Scott's point that offshore drilling would present a threat to Florida's coastal environment and economy.

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) called the decision to remove Florida from the administration's offshore drilling plan "a good start - but my ultimate goal is still a permanent ban on offshore drilling and seismic testing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico".

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