Environmental Groups Question Motives for Florida Drilling Exemption

Environmental Groups Question Motives for Florida Drilling Exemption

"I have witnessed Governor Scott's leadership through hurricane season and am working closely with him on Everglades restoration", Zinke said. It is something that will affect every coastal state, with the exception of Florida.

The 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which sets procedures for deciding which areas will be opened to offshore drilling, has not be tested like this before. "The president has tasked me to develop an energy policy offshore but also taking into consideration local and state interests".

Zinke's decision came after meeting with Governor Scott earlier in the day Tuesday to discuss the governor's objections to drilling off Florida's coast, according to The Hill.

"Meanwhile, environmental organizations are alarmed and stress that it could place wildlife and coastal communities at risk of a spill".

Ali Ryan Hansen with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries said exploratory attempts to drill off the Oregon Coast in the 1960s were unsuccessful.

Nelson, who has served in office since 2001, said the decision could benefit his future rival politically - a move he called pure politics, and nothing more.

When he announced the five-year plan last week, Zinke said his agency would work with states and members of Congress who represent potential drilling areas to allay concerns.

Nelson's comments confused some, since he has routinely opposed offshore drilling, the very issue the Trump administration sided with on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington.

In a letter to Secretary Zinke, Gov. Cooper reiterated his opposition to offshore drilling off of North Carolina's coast and emphasized the threat to the state's coastal economy.

Florida's Rick Scott (R) was among the coastal governors who spoke up.

The Trump administration on Tuesday removed the waters off Florida - and only Florida - from the list of areas newly open to offshore drilling, and in doing so made a compelling case that the ME coast should be removed as well.

But at least one long-time critic of offshore drilling in the state, Democrat Sen.

The decision to exclude Florida also has prompted other coastal states to ask the Trump administration for equal treatment.

But suddenly, on Tuesday at Tallahassee's airport, Zinke announced that drilling off the Florida coast was "off the table" even as the rest of the plan remains intact.

On Wednesday, Nelson filed a bill to permanently ban drilling off Florida's coast, saying he's skeptical of federal assurances the state would be exempt from the new drilling plan.

Until last week, 94 percent of the OCS off Alaska, California, the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast of the United States have been off-limits for decades. Why should Florida get an exemption and not, say, North Carolina, where the economy of the Outer Banks is heavily reliant on tourism? Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, Kate Brown of Oregon, Jerry Brown of California, Jay Inslee of Washington, John Carney of DE and Roy Cooper of North Carolina.

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