Gov. Scott praises reversal of plans for offshore drilling in Florida

Gov. Scott praises reversal of plans for offshore drilling in Florida

Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state said Thursday that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's decision to give Florida a last-minute exemption while ignoring at least 10 other states that made similar requests may violate requirements of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which governs drilling in US coastal waters. "The president has tasked me to develop an energy policy offshore but also taking into consideration local and state interests".

That's the same Rick Scott who banned his state's employees from using the term "climate change", which is ironic because climate change will be the long-term result of the US drilling and using more oil, causing sea level rises that will inundate more of Florida.

This month, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced plans to open up much of the Coastal U.S.to petroleum exploration, only to reverse course when it came to Florida. "By removing Florida from consideration, we can now focus on how we can further protect our environment, including our proposal for record funding for the Everglades, our springs, our beaches and our state parks", Scott said in a statement.

Scott is a political ally of President Donald Trump, who happens to own beachfront property in Florida.

"New York doesn't want drilling off our coast either", New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted.

As NPR's Richard Gonzales reported, "Zinke did not say whether he would meet with governors of other coastal states to hear their concerns or whether Interior officials had consulted with Scott before the announcement last week".

This did little to calm the storm, as Zinke's initial statement suggested Florida was getting special treatment because Scott is "straightforward leader that can be trusted".

Unless the Trump administration listens to other states with the same attention it gave Florida, it can expect lawsuits challenging its process for exempting one state but not others.

The change comes after meeting with Gov. Rick Scott (R), who opposed the move along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the state.

"President Trump's offshore drilling plan is unprecedented and will face major opposition from Mainers at its first public hearing on January 22", First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, said in a statement. For almost a year, Trump has been urging Scott to challenge Democratic Florida Sen. Other Republicans in the Sunshine State stood in opposition to the administration's plan. Bill Nelson, a long-time drilling foe, later this year in what would be one of the nation's most hotly contested Senate races.

The governors of NY and OR and the attorneys general of Maryland and California were among those who called on Zinke to ban offshore drilling. "Offshore drilling holds the same risks for North Carolina as it does for Florida and North Carolina deserves the same exemption".

Last week the Trump administration announced it was rescinding President Barack Obama's ban on oil and gas drilling of US coastal waters.

The Trump administration on Tuesday removed the waters off Florida - and only Florida - from the list of areas newly open to offshore drilling, and in doing so made a compelling case that the ME coast should be removed as well. Oil drilling in ME waters would mean oil spilling in ME waters.

But Twitter blew up as states still on the list want the same deal Florida got from the Trump admiration.

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