Senator questions protecting Florida from drilling

The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, a critic of offshore wind farm proposals by LIPA and others, hasn't taken a formal position on Trump's drilling decision. The Senate group, led by Democratic Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., called Trump's plan "a complete non-starter".

While Florida Gov. Rick Scott voiced opposition soon after the plan's January 4 release, a letter submitted by the state Department of Environmental Protection past year did not oppose the drilling plan or ask for Florida to be exempted. 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. "Local voice matters", he insisted.

Instead, the Trump administration is willfully ignoring this opposition and the formal requests of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to keep drilling away from their shores, along with opposition from countless other elected officials across the region (including during the Obama administration) and on both sides of the aisle, including Republican Govs.

"We are outraged. This is absolutely unacceptable", Brown said.

Zinke said Florida was "obviously unique" when it comes to 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?" In an interview, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that the standards Zinke applied to Florida - the importance of tourism and coastal industries - were "standards that California can meet".

"Quite frankly, Gov. Scott called me and [also] expressed in writing a desire to have a meeting", he said. The Trump-owned private club is on the Atlantic in Palm Beach with its own white sand beach. Is it about the governor wanting to run for the U.S. Senate or is it about President Trump wanting to protect Mar-a-Lago?

If that's the reason Florida was removed from the offshore oil plan, the action is contrary to how such important decisions should be made.

"I am opposed to off shore drilling of South Carolina's shore". Nelson is calling Zinke's reversal a political stunt designed by the Trump administration to help Scott.

" Gov. Scott requested a meeting the day the plan was released". This isn't about politics.

This week's decision to drop Florida from that list came after Rick Scott, the Republican governor of the state, voiced his strong opposition to drilling off Florida's coast. "This is good policy for Florida", said John Tupps, a Scott spokesman. The move was widely anticipated, at least since Ryan Zinke, a Montana congressman, climate change skeptic, and oil pipeline company board member, was appointed secretary of the interior previous year.

Gov. Nathan Deal raised concerns about the Trump administration's decision to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in coastal Georgia and much of the rest of the nation's coastal waters, but it's unclear whether the state will seek an exemption from the expanded federal program.

"Opening the Atlantic to seismic testing and drilling jeopardizes our coastal businesses, fishing communities, tourism, and our national security", the letter said.

Florida Republicans and Democrats - including Nelson - criticized the possibility that Florida's waters could be opened to drilling.

  • Tracy Klein