Rick Scott: Florida can't risk potential damage to beaches from drilling

White House: Flip-flop on Florida offshore drilling not a 'political favor'

Last week, the Trump Administration announced a controversial plan to dramatically expand drilling leases across 90 percent of the USA outer continental shelf, including the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and parts of the Arctic Ocean.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, California Governor Jerry Brown and Oregon Governor Kate Brown are opposed to this action.

Florida Governor Rick Scott and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announce there will be no new offshore drilling in Florida.

According to the Huffington Post, Trump's order in April "instructed the Interior Department to review the current five-year oil and gas leasing program", and "to write new rules for offshore oil an gas drilling under the guise of an 'America-First Offshore Energy Strategy".

When asked what caused the administration to change its position on Florida drilling, Zinke said bluntly, "The governor". "There has been no drilling off the Pacific Coast for three decades". "Where do we sign up for a waiver [Secretary Zinke]?"

Senators in 12 different states are seeking to be removed from the offshore drilling expansion list. The Trump Administration denies that Florida received a special exemption because President Trump owns property along the state's coastline. One can not help but compare this episode to the tax bill Trump just signed, which strips deductions from taxpayers in blue states in order to fund various GOP ideological priorities. Mounting uncertainties over the timeline and legislation could deter oil companies from planning to spend big on exploration, while drilling along the coastal areas could be challenged by states and could increase risks for oil firms' budget planning and possible legal expenses. "California and other coastal states also rely on our attractive coasts for tourism and our economy". Bill Nelson, D, Scott's likely opponent in November, immediately accused the Trump administration of orchestrating these announcements to boost the Republican in a key 2018 race.


Nelson dismissed Zinke's decision Tuesday as a "political stunt".

"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts. People love our beaches", Mr. Scott, Florida Republican, said on Fox News.

"This is about playing politics with our coast", Sierra Weaver, Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), said.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Virginia Gov. -elect Ralph Northam also protested the Trump administration's exception for Florida but not other states.

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.

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