Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Trump offshore drilling plan plays political favorites. Florida over California? C'mon

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the America's Pledge launch event at the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on Nov. 11 2017 in Bonn Germany Trump offshore drilling plan plays political favorites. Florida over California? C'mon
Melissa Porter | 13 January, 2018, 07:27

Soon thereafter, the Interior Secretary had a discussion with Florida's Governor and took the offshore drilling expansion off the table for federal waters off the coast of Florida without any public hearings or input, stating: "I support the governor's position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver".

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Gov. -elect Ralph Northam today requested that Virginia be excluded from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's plans to expand offshore drilling off of all U.S. waters.

The phone call came days after Zinke agreed to exempt Florida from a new Trump administration proposal to expand oil and gas drilling off most of the USA coastline.

We have long advocated for increased drilling off the country's coasts, as long as it is smartly regulated.

Other Republican governors also oppose the plan, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker. "Local voice matters", he insisted.

Nelson's letter followed the mid-week announcement from Zinke that Florida was removed from the plan from President Donald Trump to open almost all of the US territorial waters to drilling in a five-year plan set to begin in2019.

Scott - who continues to deny the science behind climate change and has - is challenging Sen.

"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts. I don't believe it", Nelson said in a statement.

Zinke's announcement, made after a meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a potential challenger to Nelson's seat, was met with outrage by leaders from states not in the Trump column during the 2016 race. "We shouldn't be playing politics with the future of FL".

Zinke said last week that the drilling plan called for responsible development that would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along USA coastlines.

Zinke's decision to change course came just five days after the Trump administration announced a five-year offshore drilling plan that would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to development by private companies. Nineteen sales would be off Alaska, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, nine in the Atlantic and seven in the Pacific, including six off California. The plan follows Trump's executive order in April encouraging more drilling rights in federal waters, part of the administration's strategy to help the USA achieve "energy dominance" in the global market. Providing all of our states with the same exemption from unsafe offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm's way.

These Senators strongly oppose the Trump Administration's offshore drilling plan, which is bad for the environment and public health and could devastate coastal economies.