Florida Receives Offshore Drilling Exemption; Others Want It, Too
Florida Receives Offshore Drilling Exemption; Others Want It, Too
Collier Commission joins Rooney, Nelson, Scott in opposing offshore drilling proposal
13 January, 2018, 00:53
No governor should. Will the Trump administration support one and oppose the others?
Along the East Coast, one of the areas long sought by oil and gas companies is Georges Banks, one of the most productive fishing areas in the region.
A couple of days after the announcement, Interior Secretary Zinke agreed with the president and said Florida would be exempt from any offshore drilling expansion. The initial plan is just the first step in a lengthy process that requires 60- or 90-day comment periods after every step of draft proposals, environmental impact studies (EIS), proposed program, draft programmatic EIS, and proposed final program, until a program is approved and a decision recorded.
While Florida Gov. Rick Scott voiced opposition soon after the plan's January 4 release, a letter submitted by the state Department of Environmental Protection a year ago did not oppose the drilling plan or ask for Florida to be exempted.
Florida generally controls three miles of state waters hugging its coastline. Just last week (Dec. 29, 2017) the Interior department proposed to amend the 2016 offshore production safety system rule in order to "reduce certain unnecessary regulatory burdens".
As of now Florida and Republican Gov. Scott, a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump was given a pass on the offshore drilling list to avoid a possible campaign issue if he runs for a spot in the United States Senate as he is expected to this fall against the senior Senator from Florida Bill Nelson a Democrat.
Interior Department officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Our tactic was open everything up, then meet with the governors, meet with the stakeholders so that when we shaped it, it was right", he told reporters at a news conference Tuesday night.
"Mr. President, I must say I've seen political games being played with trying to drill off of the coast of Florida", said U.S. Sen.
RYAN ZINKE: We are going to take the new oil platforms, new oil, gas platforms, off the table off the Florida coastlines.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said Zinke's action "violates the legal standard of arbitrary and capricious agency action". Maine's fishing industry could be ravaged from a massive oil spill, as would the tourism economy for coastal towns that depend on clean beaches and clean water. States such as California also have some power to thwart Zinke's program.
Members of Congress from both parties and both coasts have intensified their opposition to the Trump administration's plan to open nearly all of America's outer continental shelf to energy exploration.
Gov. Cooper requested a meeting with the Secretary to explain the critical threat drilling and seismic testing pose to North Carolina's coastal communities, economy and environment.
Seeking a similar exemption for California, the state's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, used some of Zinke's own words to tweet, "California is also "unique" & our "coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.' Our 'local and state voice" is firmly opposed to any and all offshore drilling".
Democrats from coastal states accuse Zinke and Trump of punishing states with Democratic leaders while rewarding Republicans.
In announcing the offshore oil drilling plan last week, Zinke said it was meant to make the U.S.
In response, the Interior department released Thursday its new five-year offshore leasing plan (2019-2024) - one of the largest offshore oil leasing plans in the nation's history, and one that goes far beyond the current Obama five-year plan (which in itself was bad enough).
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