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Governor wants North Carolina, like Florida, exempted from new offshore drilling plan

Governor wants North Carolina, like Florida, exempted from new offshore drilling plan

Democrats have argued that Trump and 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.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said on Twitter that his state, "like Florida, has hundreds of miles of lovely coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way". One can not help but compare this episode to the tax bill Mr. Trump just signed, which strips deductions from taxpayers in blue states in order to fund various GOP ideological priorities.

Republican governors including Maryland's Larry Hogan and South Carolina's Henry McMaster have balked at offshore drilling, while the practice is anathema in Democratic-leaning California and northeastern states.

HENRY MCMASTER: 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.

No governor should. Will the Trump administration support one and oppose the others?

Zinke said Tuesday in announcing the exemption for Florida that Scott, a fellow Republican who has met with both Zinke and President Donald Trump in recent weeks, is "a straightforward leader that can be trusted".

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander", Sanford said, adding that Republicans should respect local wishes.

If we genuinely care about the ocean, we should not expose it to the risks from offshore drilling - period. Mark Warner, D-Va., called Trump's plan "a complete non-starter". Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, referring to a 1946 law governing major regulatory changes said that the Administrative Procedure Act constrains that an equitable reasoning behind agency decisions, and they can not be unpredictable and inconsistent. The only difference between it and DE is that Florida is bigger and has more coastline. "Local voice matters", he insisted. "Their criticism is empty pandering".

"Right now his promise is just empty words", said Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida who has long opposed offshore drilling.

In this case, however, Zinke made the critical concession that coastal areas, and the communities that depend on them for their economic lifeblood, can be harmed by offshore oil operations.




In a letter sent to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Inslee detailed the impact the coast has on Washington's economy. The group called the Florida withdrawal "premature" and said restricting access to the Eastern Gulf of Mexico in particular "puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk across the country and along the Gulf Coast".

As NPR's Richard Gonzales reported, "Zinke did not say whether he would meet with governors of other coastal states to hear their concerns or whether Interior officials had consulted with Scott before the announcement last week". The Trump-owned private club is on the Atlantic in Palm Beach with its own white sand beach.

"Governor Scott's strong leadership on this issue and President Trump's swift response were commendable, and I am proud that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle could unite to protect the Sunshine State", said the Trump ally. "I am encouraged by the decision to exempt Florida from the plan, and respectfully ask that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia". Nelson is calling Zinke's reversal a political stunt designed by the Trump administration to help Scott.

"I support the governor's position that Florida is unique and its coast is heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver", the secretary said.

"For more than 30 years, our shared coastline has been protected from further federal drilling and we'll do whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action", California Gov.

Elected officials from Florida to ME oppose opening up our oceans to the dangers of oil and gas drilling, yet here we see the Administration ignoring those concerns and proposing another massive give-away to the oil and gas industry. This isn't about politics.

Although Zinke last week opened the door to selling offshore drilling rights in more than 90 percent of US waters - from the California coast to the Atlantic seaboard - the eastern Gulf of Mexico was a top industry target.

Questions about the legality of the Zinke's decision came as bipartisan opposition to the drilling plan mounted.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift on Thursday released a statement that described the five-year draft plan for offshore drilling as an "open and public process" and said there will be revisions.

In a statement after the new offshore drilling plan was announced last week, Northam said the plan would jeopardize the Commonwealth's "economy, environment, national security, and the health and safety of our residents".


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