President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed opening up almost all of America’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling.
The trouble began January 4 when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed opening almost the entire Outer Continental Shelf off the US coast to oil and gas drilling.
After a sudden meeting with Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Florida would be waived from having new drilling take place off its coasts.
The plan to exempt Florida from offshore drilling also sparked outcry from other state lawmakers opposed to offshore drilling. But legal experts are pointing out another major flaw in Zinke’s hasty exemption: it’s likely illegal.
Almost three-quarters of Florida’s representatives in the U.S. House, including a majority of the state’s Republican members of Congress, have written a forceful, sensible letter criticizing the Trump administration’s attempt to weaken offshore-drilling regulations.
In the case of environmentalists, they’re going to oppose just about any energy idea that isn’t wind- or solar-related.
Has the Trump administration already forgotten that horrific scene?
Zinke said the decision was a culmination of multiple meetings between Scott and Trump administration officials. He says the administration will hold corporations accountable for following all environmental laws.
The plan now under review by the Department of the Interior, and requested by the White House, would allow oil drilling near Florida’s Gulf coastline for the first time in decades. Zinke also announced the exemption on Twitter.
“It’s the lack of the formal process”, Weaver said.
The move was seen as a political one.
“Sen. Nelson has certainly had the inside track on defending our coastline, and I think the Governor knew that”, Broxson said.
He said President Trump had directed him to “take into consideration the local and state voice” in deciding policy.
The statement prompted a flurry of responses from governors of other coastal states, who queried why Florida should be the only state spared from the possibility of a disastrous oil spill and other harm caused to the marine environment and communities that depend upon fishing or tourism.
“California is also “unique” & our coats are heavily reliant on tourism as economic driver”.
Reps. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist. and Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., signed a separate letter to Zinke in opposition to Atlantic offshore drilling. If that’s your standard, we, too, should be removed from your list.
“Go look up “Banana Republic” then go fly a Zinke flag to celebrate making us one”, Shaub tweeted.
The announcement came almost a year after President Donald Trump ordered the Interior Department to examine President Barack Obama’s five-year offshore drilling plan.
Good for the Sunshine State, but we have to wonder: Will the administration grant DE a similar reprieve?