Offshore drilling threatens important ME industries
13 January, 2018, 05:10 | Author: Laverne Higgins
Oceana found that 15 of the 23 coastal state governors voiced opposition. The administration has surrendered any reason to refuse.
And then on Tuesday night, January 9, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that the waters off the Florida coast will be excluded from the new plan after he met with Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the Tallahassee International Airport.
Rick Scott voiced opposition soon after the plan's January 4 release, a letter submitted by the state Department of Environmental Protection previous year did not oppose the drilling plan or ask for Florida to be exempted. A proposed leasing plan unveiled last week aims to open up all USA coasts to drillers over the next five years.
But after a meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Zinke this week released a statement that said, "Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver, and "I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms".
"Just like with mining, not all areas are appropriate for offshore drilling, and we will take that into consideration in the coming weeks", Zinke said in a January 4 statement.
Democrats said Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke were being hypocritical by agreeing to a request by Florida's Republican governor to withdraw from the drilling plan, but not making the same accommodation to states with Democratic governors.
The complaints came as South Carolina's Republican governor said Wednesday he is seeking an exemption from the proposed drilling expansion, a move that will test the relationship between Trump and one of his earliest supporters.
Coastal tourism is a $3 billion industry in North Carolina. In addition, North Carolina has over 300 miles of coastline, 2.3 million acres of estuarine waters, and over 10,000 miles of estuarine shoreline.
"We can not afford to take a chance with the beauty, the majesty and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline in SC", he said.
"As the Trump administration considers a new plan to drill for oil and gas off the coast of New Jersey, it is imperative you hear from residents, businesses and local officials in communities along South Jersey's coast", said LoBiondo, whose district includes Atlantic City, wrote in a separate letter to the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Why should Scott's be the only one heeded?
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said on Twitter that his state, "like Florida, has hundreds of miles of attractive coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way".
"Offshore drilling decisions in the United States are, by law, supposed to be guided by science, public input, and a careful balancing of environmental and energy needs", Lee-Ashley toldReuters. Trump handed him a political prize.
Northam's letter asked "that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia".
In other words, his decision is a model of ideological extremism tempered by partisan favoritism. If the risk is too great for Florida, it is equally so for other states.
However, it's doubtful if ME - with only two electors - holds the same kind of political weight as a state such as Florida, whose voters sent all of its 29 electors for Trump. Political reasons likely won't hold up in court. Somewhat surprisingly, the only Republican member of the California delegation to follow suit has been Rep. Darryl Issa, who, perhaps not coincidentally, also announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection in 2018.
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