Fla. Is Exempted From Coastal Drilling. Other States Ask, ‘Why Not Us?’

"WASHINGTON — At 5:20 on Tuesday evening, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted a photo of himself at the Tallahassee airport with Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, announcing that he had decided, after meeting with Governor Scott, to exempt the state from a new Trump administration plan to open up most of the nation’s coastline to offshore oil drilling.

It was a sudden and unexpected change to a plan that President Trump had celebrated just five days before, and it took lawmakers and governors from both parties by surprise. It also gave Governor Scott, a Republican who is widely expected to run for the Senate this year, a clear political boost in that race. Florida lawmakers of both parties have long opposed offshore drilling, especially after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill sent tarballs to the shores of a state where the economy relies heavily on tourism. Mr. Zinke’s sudden flip-flop on Florida drilling allows Governor Scott to tout the decision as evidence of his influence with the White House.

Mr. Trump’s critics say the move highlights the president’s willingness to blatantly use the nation’s public lands and waters as political bargaining chips."

Coral Davenport reports for the New York Times January 10, 2018.


"Beaches Line The Coast Like Pearls. Other States Ask Why Florida’s Are More Special." (Washington Post)

"Dropping Florida from Offshore Drilling Opens Legal Cracks in Zinke's Plan" (InsideClimate News)

"Trump Creates Political Trouble for GOP Coastal State Governors" (McClatchy)

"After Florida, More States Press U.S. For Offshore Drilling Exemptions" (Reuters)

"Oil Industry Slams Zinke For Closing Florida Waters To Offshore Drilling" (The Hill)

"GOP Lawmaker Rips Trump, Zinke: 'Self-Serving' To Exempt Florida From Drilling" (The Hill)

"South Carolina Governor Calls On Trump Admin To Remove State From Drilling Plan" (The Hill)

"Florida Decision Puts Trump Drilling Plan On Shaky Ground" (The Hill)

"Christie Wants Trump Admin To Exempt N.J. From Offshore Drilling" (The Hill)

"Offshore Drilling: Nelson, Governors Want Answers On Zinke's Fla. About-Face" (E&E News PM)

"About-Face Tweet on Florida Drilling May Backfire on U.S. Agency" (Bloomberg)

Source: NY Times, 01/11/2018