NC, SC Governors Want States Exempt From Offshore Drilling Expansion

GOP Rep. Mark Sanford   Sean Rayford  Getty Images

GOP Rep. Mark Sanford Sean Rayford Getty Images

"The decision is apparently being made two days into a comment period for the state of Florida, but not for the numerous other states that requested the same exclusion based on the same reasoning", Sierra Weaver, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, told ThinkProgress.

On Jan. 4, Zinke announced a proposal to open up more coastal areas in Florida, California and the Atlantic to drilling.

The change comes after meeting with Gov. Rick Scott (R), who opposed the move along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the state. I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration.

In a statement posted on Twitter, he explained that he agreed with Gov Scott's position that "Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver".

"Florida is obviously unique", Zinke said.

'Such a quick reversal begs the question: Will the Trump administration give equal consideration to all the other coastal Governors from both parties who overwhelmingly reject this radical offshore drilling plan?' Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins said in a statement.

Coastal tourism is a $3 billion industry in North Carolina. Commercial fishing brings in another $95 million every year. "All of these contribute to a robust national economy".

"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. If Secretary Zinke has really turned over a new leaf and chose to listen to local voices, he should listen to the outpouring of opposition coming from communities, businesses, and elected officials from both parties up and down our coasts and promptly withdraw his radical offshore drilling plan", League of Conservation Voters Deputy Legislative Director Alex Taurel said in a Tuesday night statement. Why should Scott's be the only one heeded?

Trump narrowly won Florida's 29 electoral votes in the 2016 election and has encouraged Scott to run for the Senate. For almost a year, Trump has been urging Scott to challenge Democratic Florida Sen. Trump handed him a political prize. The current plan had removed the possibility of drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic.

Or are they subject to potentially hazardous oil and gas drilling off their shores because the Secretary of the Interior hasn't personally worked with them?

Kate Brown is speaking out on behalf of Oregon's coastal communities.

The annual University of South Florida-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey showed 44% support for the activity in 2014 with 39% opposed. The cost-benefit ratio calculation has been pushed away from drilling.

"Kudos to Governor Scott and Florida's congressional delegation for strongly protesting the initial plan to expand drilling", the tweet said. Political reasons likely won't hold up in court.

"I am appalled that our president would move contrary to OR values, frankly contrary to West Coast values", Brown said after the proposal was announced.

Scott's statement was met warmly by the White House, hinting towards an amicable resolution between Trump and Scott.

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