m3n4.net February 22, 2019

Trump administration removes Florida from offshore oil and gas drilling plan

15 January 2018, 12:08 | Tara Lloyd

Trump administration removes Florida from offshore oil and gas drilling plan

Gov. Rick Scott delivers his last State of the State address on the first day of the legislative session Tuesday Jan. 9 2018 in Tallahassee Fla

Henry McMaster said he is opposed to drilling and will be urging President Donald Trump to back off a plan to allow oil drilling off the state's coast.

Unveiled last week, the plan would open almost all federal waters for leasing.

Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie want the Trump administration to exempt NY and New Jersey from plans to expand offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans.

When asked if the exemption for Florida was a political favor for Scott, Sanford said "it certainty looks, smells, and feels that way".

And in a video interview for "Anderson Cooper 360", the OR governor expressed incredulity over Zinke's claims that Florida's coastline was unique for its dependence on tourism. "As a result of discussion with Gov. Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms".

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Democrats from coastal states accuse Zinke and Trump of punishing states with Democratic leaders while rewarding Republicans. Both said the agreement evolved during meetings over the last 12 months. "Zinke-Meeting-Request-1-11-18.pdf">meeting with Zinke, who earlier indicated he would meet with governors of the affected states.

Zinke held firm that it was Scott who swayed the White House's decision and did not offer any other explanation when pressed by reporters. But Christie has never wavered from opposition to drilling off our shores.

Some analysts see the Florida case as politically motivated, but whatever the reasons, the governors of Oregon, Washington, New York, Virginia, and nearly all others except for Alaska and ME, demanded that their states be exempt, too.

Instead, we need to accelerate efforts to kick our carbon habit, and get on with the hard, yet inevitable work of building a sustainable, low-carbon energy economy.

However, Zinke has granted Florida an exemption through 2024, according to the website.

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At the same time, a number of Republicans are on board with the plan and believe it could help boost the economic prospects of the coastal states. The hope is to begin lease sales in 2019 - but not before at least two rounds of public comment ("Certainly, the states and local communities have a voice", the secretary said).

Scott's positions on energy and the environment have shifted as he ponders pursuing a Senate seat. The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint statement calling the proposal "a political decision" that "flies in the face of decades of strong opposition ... from Republicans and Democrats alike".

Scott had railed against federal environmental regulations and sued U.S. EPA over its Clean Power Plan rule for cutting power-sector greenhouse gas emissions.

Scott is an admitted climate-change denier, who is reported to have banned its Department of Environmental Protection from using "climate change" or "global warming" in any written reports. Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the plan "puts oil and gas profits first - and will place our coastal communities and all they support at risk of the next BP-style disaster". Bill Nelson - wasn't entirely happy with Tuesday's announcement.

"We must stand firm against any plan for fossil fuel exploration, drilling or development off the Atlantic coast - whether it be 3 miles, 30 miles or 300 miles from New Jersey". "Our coastal beaches are really important to Oregonians", she said. IAGC President Nikki Martin called the announcement "a win for the American people", adding that, "Today's announcement demonstrates that this Administration is thinking beyond today and taking into account the energy needs of a growing economy forfuture generations". Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tweeted Tuesday, referring to incumbent Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and incoming Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

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