Local leaders react to Trump's offshore drilling plans

An offshore installation

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke now says Florida's Gulf and Atlantic coasts will be off-limits to drilling because the state is "obviously unique." . "As a result of discussion with Gov. Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms".

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. Florida Governor Rick Scott - a Republican - is against oil and gas exploration off his state's coast, and is planning a run for U.S. Senate.

In an interview with CNN, Sanford said the exemption from the Trump administration's new plan to open 98% of the US's offshore waters to drilling for Florida smacked of politics since the state is important in presidential elections.

It means some of the Gulf of Mexico on Florida's western coast will be exempt from drilling, but not all of it.

Zinke has said that his decision on allowing wholesale offshore drilling isn't final, and that he will "no doubt" talk to all of the governors of coastal states. "But there's places where resources are sensitive, and there's places where we're not going to go forward with [drilling for oil] and one of them is off the coast of Florida".

Christie's request follows similar ones from the governors of California and NY, who issued similar statements after Zinke's announcement.

Legislators and governors from both parties in other coastal states - already angry because they said they had been blindsided by Zinke's announcement - were quick to set him straight.

API spokesman Reid Porter said the Trump administration "should follow the established process" for developing an offshore drilling program, including public comment.

Proposed OCS lease sales by region historical. Source BOEM
Proposed OCS lease sales by region historical. Source BOEM

The trouble began January 4 when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed opening almost the entire Outer Continental Shelf off the US coast to oil and gas drilling.

Zinke said coastal damage from Hurricane Irma was another reason the administration was taking Florida out of consideration for offshore drilling.

Environmental groups casted similar doubts.

Some lawmakers are saying the decision had to do with Scott running for Senate this year, challenging incumbent Sen.

Zinke has called the drilling plan part of "a new path for energy dominance in America". "Our 'local and state voice" is firmly opposed to any and all offshore drilling. "Meanwhile, more frequent oil spills and more intense ocean acidification and warming are guaranteed to ensue", Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, said in a prepared statement.

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.

"But I believe the fact that he has the ear of the President....at the end of the day it's good for the Democrat and good for the Republican".

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