Collier Commission joins Rooney, Nelson, Scott in opposing offshore drilling proposal

The Trump administration last week gave the okay to oil and gas drilling off U.S. coastal waters though many coastal governors balked

The Trump administration last week gave the okay to oil and gas drilling off U.S. coastal waters though many coastal governors balked

Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's decision to give Florida a last-minute exemption while ignoring at least 10 other states that made similar requests may violate requirements of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which governs drilling in USA coastal waters. For example, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, an ally of President Trump, doesn't want the waters off Florida's coastline to be part of the administration's plan.

Zinke said his decision to exempt Florida was because its coasts are unique and high tourist attractions. On Tuesday night, Secretary Zinke tweeted that after meeting with Governor Rick Scott, Florida would be exempted from the plan.

Rick Scott seems to have found the secret to getting the Trump administration to undo a stupid and unsafe policy: just ask.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat in a state that went to Trump in the 2016 race, said he wanted to meet with the president himself to explain how offshore drilling would threaten the state economy.

President Donald Trump makes opening remarks as he holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House
President Donald Trump makes opening remarks as he holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House

Delaware's leaders, both in Dover and in Washington, strongly oppose drilling off our state's coast for exactly the same reason Florida's leaders do.

Environmentalist group Oceana said it hopes the White House hears complaints from other states - that might not have a GOP chief executive like Scott. "We've got to do everything we can to take care of our environment".

Zinke said there would be no new drilling or platforms, but seismic testing would be allowed, according to Politico.

"The Maine lobster industry, for example, has an estimated $1.7 billion impact to the state's economy annually, not to mention the many other fishing, aquaculture and coastal tourism industries in Maine that help to support the economy", the senators wrote.

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Say this for the Trump administration - sometimes they put their self-servedness right out there for all of the American people to see.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the plan would open up 90 percent of the country's outer continental shelf to oil and gas leasing, including an area off the coasts of OR and Washington.

Another big problem he said is the necessary onshore infrastructure that can also damage the environment.

"I don't believe it", Nelson said.

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"I urge Secretary Zinke to recognize the Florida Congressional delegation's bipartisan efforts to maintain and extend the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and remove this area for future planning purposes", Sen.

A second coastal governor, South Carolina's Henry McMaster, has now said he also is seeking continued protection against offshore drilling for his state.

The move left other states hanging and Democrats wondering if it had anything to do with Scott's possible run for Senate later this year.

Oil drilling within 125 miles of the Florida coast has been banned since 2006.

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Scott was not the only Florida Republican criticizing the proposal last week, with U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, of Longboat Key, calling it "reckless, misguided and potentially catastrophic to Florida".

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