Florida Off-Shore Drilling Yay or Nay?

Less than a week ago, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a plan to make over 90% of National OCS program (Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program) available for OffShore Drilling.  Now, the Trump Administration is exempting Florida from this plan after a high profile visit by Zinke to Tallahassee and a visit with with Governor Rick Scott, a Trump supporter. 

Scott had been part of a bi-partisan group of Florida officials that were critical of the original decision to expand off-shore drilling.   The decision to exclude Florida from expanded drilling has left political leaders from both parties asking, "Why Not Us" as reported in the Washington Post.  This negative response from both parties  adds one more challenge for Republicans in a mid-term election year.

Decision to exempt Florida from offshore drilling prompts bipartisan uproar

By David Weigel and John Wagner
Washington prompts

The Trump administration’s decision to exempt Florida from expanded offshore drilling kicked off a frenzy Wednesday in other coastal states, with governors from both political parties asking: Why not us?

“We cannot afford to take a chance with the beauty, the majesty and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), who backed President Trump in his state’s competitive 2016 primary, said in a statement.

“Not Off Our Coast,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) wrote in a tweet. “We’ve been clear: this would bring unacceptable risks to our economy, our environment, and our coastal communities.”

The Florida carve-out, announced Tuesday by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, created new doubts about the fate of the entire offshore drilling decision — and immediately became another challenge for Republicans as they work to hold off Democrats in the midterm elections. Nine of the 11 states that opposed the drilling order have gubernatorial races this year, and many of the most competitive contests for the House of Representatives will unfold in districts that touch coastline. <more>

Overnight Energy: Zinke under fire for exempting Florida from drilling plan 

The Hill

ZINKE'S DRILLING MOVE HITS OPPOSITION: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is catching criticism from numerous corners over his decision late Tuesday to take Florida off the table for offshore drilling.

While Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) welcomed the quick action to protect waters near his state from drilling, officials elsewhere accused Zinke of political favoritism, and wondered if opponents in other states would get the same courtesy.

Scott is a close ally to the Trump administration, and is expected soon to announce his intent to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D), a long-time drilling opponent. Florida's coasts also host Trump's "Winter White House," Mar-a-Lago.

Zinke said last week he'd consider allowing drilling near all of the nation's coasts.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) was one of the early opponents out of the gate Tuesday, saying that his state met the same standards Zinke used to exempt Florida. <more>

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