After Florida, more states press for offshore drilling exemptions

After Florida, more states press for offshore drilling exemptions

Zinke, in a meeting with the press, said his plan would put "more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development".

"All states and localities opposed to this drilling proposal should be heard and those with compelling reasons, like New Jersey, should receive waivers, if we're really about respecting local concerns in our national energy policy", Smith said. One can not help but compare this episode to the tax bill Mr. Trump just signed, which strips deductions from taxpayers in blue states in order to fund various GOP ideological priorities.

Like Florida, California and other coastal states "rely on our lovely coasts for tourism and our economy", Lieu said, adding that he believes courts will strike down the drilling plan.

"Dear Secretary Zinke, California like Florida, has hundreds of miles of handsome coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way".

"If it was anything but that, Secretary Zinke would have announced tonight that he was removing Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, where offshore drilling has already been rejected by local and state voices", Weaver added. A proposed leasing plan unveiled last week aims to open up all US coasts to drillers over the next five years.

A spokeswoman for Zinke said he spoke with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday and expects to speak Friday with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and California Gov. Otherwise we would find ourselves asking the same question that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown posed on CNN, "Why is this OK for Florida and not OK for Oregon?"

It should go without saying that a spill on par with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which pumped 215 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing $17 billion in damages and effects on wildlife and coastal areas that are still seen today, would be catastrophic for the state.

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The change of course - just five days after Zinke announced the offshore drilling plan - highlights the political importance of Florida, where Trump narrowly won the state's 29 electoral votes in the 2016 election and has encouraged Scott to run for Senate.

And a spokesperson for Charlie Baker, the popular Republican governor of MA, said Wednesday that he opposes Trump's plan to allow offshore drilling up the East Coast.

The state is also important economically, with a multibillion-dollar tourism business built on sunshine and miles and miles of white sandy beaches. Trump spent his Christmas and New Year's break at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Zinke said Tuesday that "Florida is obviously unique" and that the decision to remove the state came after meetings and discussion with Scott, a Trump ally and a likely candidate for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Bill Nelson.

Northam's letter asked "that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia". If the risk is too great for Florida, it is equally so for other states. When asked if the exemption for Florida was a political favor for Scott, Sanford said "it certainly looks, smells, and feels that way".

Zinke last week released a sweeping plan to open almost all waters off the nation's coastlines to oil and gas drilling, including a new lease sale off OR and Washington proposed for 2021.

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

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