Interior Department Grants Florida Waiver from Offshore Drilling
The Trump administration announced last week that would be opening most US ocean waters to oil and gas drilling. But following objections voiced by the governor of Florida, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that Florida would be “off the table” when it comes to the administration’s new policy.
“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said in a statement. “As a result of a discussion with Governor Scott’s and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) January 9, 2018
Florida Governor Rick Scott is a Republican who, incidentally, is considering a challenge to Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, who is up for re-election this year. Nelson called Zinke’s announcement “a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott, who has wanted to drill off Florida’s coast his entire career.”
And what about Democratic governors who want to prevent offshore drilling in their states? As Business Insider’s Josh Barro asked:
How, after this statement, do you justify extending the program to other states where the governors object, which is most of them? https://t.co/jH53QRSDIR
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) January 9, 2018
The news from the Interior Department provoked reactions from elected Democrats who oppose drilling. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia asked why his state hadn’t received the same treatment:
Virginia’s governor (and governor-elect) have made this same request, but we have not received the same commitment. Wonder why… https://t.co/9HgvOWC1p6
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) January 10, 2018
California’s attorney general pointed out that California’s situation is not unlike Florida’s:
.@SecretaryZinke: California is also "unique" & our "coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver." Our “local and state voice” is firmly opposed to any and all offshore drilling.
If that's your standard, we, too, should be removed from your list. Immediately. https://t.co/T6W6JaPCPh
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) January 10, 2018
And New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to know where he can sign up for a drilling waiver:
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 10, 2018
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