Senator: Florida drilling exemption may be illegal

Senator: Florida drilling exemption may be illegal

Senator: Florida drilling exemption may be illegal

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.

"All states and localities opposed to this drilling proposal should be heard and those with compelling reasons, like New Jersey, should receive waivers, if we're really about respecting local concerns in our national energy policy", Smith said. He said on Wednesday that California will seek the same exemption.

"In this case Governor Deal can learn from our neighbors and send a clear message against drilling off Georgia coasts", she said. In a statement, LePage said offshore drilling has the potential to create jobs and energy independence, and that sensitive areas would not be included in the final plan. Sanford's colleague in representing South Carolina's coast in Congress, Rep. Tom Rice (R), also announced his opposition to Atlantic drilling. Otherwise we would find ourselves asking the same question that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown posed on CNN, "Why is this OK for Florida and not OK for Oregon?"

Oceana, an ocean protection group headquartered in Washington, D.C., prepared an informal survey of elected leaders of both parties who have tweeted their opposition since the administration introduced its offshore plan.

Zinke said after a brief meeting with Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., at the Tallahassee airport Tuesday that drilling in Florida waters would be "off the table", despite a plan that proposed drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean off Florida.

And a spokesperson for Charlie Baker, the popular Republican governor of MA, said Wednesday that he opposes Trump's plan to allow offshore drilling up the East Coast.

The state is also important economically, with a multibillion-dollar tourism business built on sunshine and miles and miles of white sandy beaches. Zinke did so Tuesday for Florida, where Trump owns the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

The backlash could complicate President Donald Trump's efforts to expand oil and gas production offshore.

"I'm not aware of any political favor that that (Florida exemption) would have been part of, so, no", Sanders said.

Scott's office said he repeatedly voiced his opposition to drilling to Zinke, including at an October meeting in Washington. A democratic challenger, Kyle Horton, opposes oil exploration. This isn't about politics. "Had Zinke cared about the wishes of coastal communities or how drilling off their coasts will affect them, he would have proposed a plan that shrinks drilling even further, not proposed expanding operations to almost every corner of our waters".

Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress and former deputy chief of staff under Obama's Interior Department, said Zinke's action by Tweet could undermine his five-year offshore plan.

Democratic governors along both coasts unanimously oppose drilling, as do a number of Republican governors, including McMaster, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker.

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.

Industry groups praised the announcement, while environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would impose "severe and unacceptable harm" to America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.

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