After Florida, More States Press US For Offshore Drilling Exemptions

Posted January 13, 2018

Inslee and his office wrote to the Trump administration in August and again last week, and both called and sent a letter to Zinke Thursday, he told CNN, but he has not gotten any response.

Democrats, who view Scott as the GOP's best challenger to Sen.

ALLEN: The news that Florida was receiving a special exemption from offshore drilling was hardly out before governors and other officials from coastal states began asking for similar treatment. "Nothing has changed as far as the requirements; nothing has changed as far as the ability to finish the process out", said the group's president, Randall Luthi.

"The secretary has said since day one that he is interested in the local voice".

Roy Cooper wants his state to be treated just like Florida when it comes to offshore oil drilling. When asked if the exemption for Florida was a political favor for Scott, Sanford said "it certainly looks, smells, and feels that way".

And despite proclamations about wanting to hear from coastal residents as they finalize a decision, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management apparently does not plan to hold hearings in most of the very coastal communities that would be most impacted, as they have done in the past even though they have promised to conduct an open and public process.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said Tuesday that Zinke's declaration encompassed the entire eastern Gulf of Mexico "planning area", which extends about 125 miles off the shore.

The fishing and tourism industries are the backbone of our coastal economy. The Trump-owned private club is on the Atlantic in Palm Beach with its own white sand beach.

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"Mr. President, I must say I've seen political games being played with trying to drill off of the coast of Florida", said U.S. Sen. Kaine said. "Are they putting Florida off-limits because President Trump has a vacation property - Mar-a-Lago - on the Atlantic coast of Florida and he worries about the environmental risk there, but he's not anxious about environmental risk in Virginia?" "I am encouraged by the decision to exempt Florida from the plan, and respectfully ask that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia".

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.

"Senator Nelson and anyone else who opposes oil drilling off Florida's coast should be happy the governor was able to secure this commitment".

Scott called the meeting with Zinke "historic" and thanked him for reversing the decision. This isn't about politics. Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, included himself in the opposition and said he'd seek an immediate meeting with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to discuss his concerns. "This is good policy for Florida".

Zinke announced last week that the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, which would flip the current status of being 94 percent off-limits to more than 90 percent available for drilling, would be "the right balance to protect our coasts and people while still powering America and achieving American energy dominance".

Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress and former deputy chief of staff under Obama's Interior Department, said Zinke's action by Tweet could undermine his five-year offshore plan.

"Opening the Atlantic to seismic testing and drilling jeopardizes our coastal businesses, fishing communities, tourism, and our national security", the letter said.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the phone lines from other Republican and Democratic governors who didn't get the deal Gov. Scott are not too pleased.