January 20, 2018

Scott Scores a Win as Trump Exempts Florida from Offshore Drilling

14 January 2018, 03:30 | Christie Tate

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Offshore energy development is safer than ever let’s reap its benefits

More flippantly, the filmmaker Michael Moore had already threatened to launch a "monster" fracking operation off the coast of Mar-a-Lago, the site of Donald Trump's Florida resort.

"One would think that such an impactful decision would have been well thought out and not so malleable", he said.

Zinke's decision to exempt Florida from the administration's offshore drilling plan also raised questions as to why other states with unique coastlines and a reliance on tourism ― like California or SC, for example ― don't deserve the same treatment.

Other states have begun asking for exemptions from the offshore drilling plan as a result of Tuesday's announcement, but no further announcements have been made.

The announcement comes at a time when the Trump administration is working to roll back restrictions put in place after the Deepwater Horizon spill. He infamously banned state officials from using the term "climate change" (he denies this, but come on), takes gobs of money from the pollution-heavy Florida sugar industry, had an extremely questionable financial stake in the Sabal Trail oil pipeline, and in 2016 rewrote state rules to let polluters dump more known carcinogens into state waterways.

He posted a statement on Twitter that said, "I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts".

"I am opposed to offshore drilling off South Carolina's shore, I'm opposed to seismic testing off South Carolina's shore", McMaster told reporters.

Zinke's action is especially outrageous because Florida — unlike California, Washington and other states — did not expressly oppose the drilling proposal in written comments submitted to the Interior Department, Cantwell said.

Democrats accuse President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke of hypocrisy by agreeing to Florida's request for exemption but denying similar requests by Democratic governors opposing the drilling expansion.

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Trump and others believe the controversial dossier triggered the FBI's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. A separate Department of Justice investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller , is also looking into the allegations.

On Tuesday, Zinke announced that after talking with Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Florida would be removed from the proposal. "Removing areas offshore Florida this early in the planning process prematurely curtails dialogue and thorough study of the possibilities for future development". The state's coastal communities are still struggling to recover from the recession, she said, and the $2 billion a year and 22,000-plus jobs that tourism provides are critical to that recovery.

But Secretary Zinke's decision to take Florida off the table "should have his lawyers cringing", Hayes said.

"If exceptions are being made for other states, the governor will certainly pursue the same type of exception for New Jersey", Christie's office said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

"It's blatantly obvious that Governor Rick Scott and the Trump administration are colluding to earn political points in an election year", said Jorge Aguilar, southern region director of Food & Water Watch.

"We anticipate there will be anger and distrust toward the Trump administration because it seems local voices only matter when they're in Florida and not in other states that have spoken so consistently over the years", Weaver said.

Like Florida, California and other coastal states "rely on our handsome coasts for tourism and our economy", Lieu said, adding that he believes courts will strike down the drilling plan.

Drilling off the Atlantic Coast would be particularly risky because oil and gas infrastructure has proven to be especially vulnerable during hurricanes.

The draft proposal estimates the amount of oil off the Atlantic coast to equal approximately a seven-month supply based on current US consumption.

But they sure gave our governor the chance to play the hero.

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