Trump administration removes Florida from offshore oil and gas drilling plan

Trump administration removes Florida from offshore oil and gas drilling plan

Trump administration removes Florida from offshore oil and gas drilling plan

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it would not seek to bring oil and gas drilling to the waters off Florida, conceding to vocal opposition from the Republican governor of the tourism-driven state. Florida not alone in opposing opening coasts to drilling In a bipartisan show of force, the governors of all the states along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts have joined Scott in calling for their shorelines to be removed from Zinke's plan, but Zinke has not ruled any other area out at this stage in the process.

Scott had objected to the proposal because drilling could imperil the state's reliance on tourism as an economic driver.

Observers were quick to note that the move likely had political motivations, handing Scott and other Florida Republicans - who had been outspoken in their opposition to the plan - a win.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said on Twitter that his state, "like Florida, has hundreds of miles of lovely coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way. Where do we sign up for a waiver @SecretaryZinke?".

"Quite frankly, Gov. Scott called me and [also] expressed in writing a desire to have a meeting", he said. I'll try again: "Not Off Our Coast - RC".

Scott has spent the last few years developing close ties with both President Donald Trump and his administration and is seen as one of the president's top political supporters - a support which seems to go both ways.

Gov. Henry McMaster of SC, who endorsed Trump in his run for president back in January 2016, said that he did not support the offshore drilling decision.

It might surprise Zinke to learn that California has a attractive and unique coast too - one that is the foundation of an $18-billion coastal tourism industry, according to a five-year-old federal study.

Proposed OCS lease sales by region historical. Source BOEM
Proposed OCS lease sales by region historical. Source BOEM

McMaster also said he will be taking "appropriate steps" to address the issue with Trump. When Cooper asked if Brown would consider legal action to stall movement to expand offshore permits, she said the state would "look at every tool we have in the toolbox".

Jim Gross, executive director of Florida Defenders of the Environment, is also opposed to the Interior Department proposal. Beyond that, much of the control switches to the federal government under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Bill Nelson, a long-time drilling foe, later this year in what would be one of the nation's most hotly contested Senate races. "I just did my State of the State [address], I'm working on making sure this is a state everybody wants to live", Scott said.

South Carolina Republican Representative Mark Sanford claimed that Trump only exempted Florida because Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is there.

"We can not chance those resources, that economy, this is a matter of serious imporance to us in SC".

Zinke said Scott's concerns about oil spills damaging Florida's beaches and tourism industry prompted the reversal.

So Democratic lawmakers from coastal states tried again, publicly demanding an exemption. For the moment, the administration sends a very loud message that Florida is worth special consideration. I mean think about it: How many people, percentage of our population, lives along our coastsz?.

So far, Florida is the only state Zinke has made a ruling on, however.

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