Trump administration removes Florida from offshore drilling list

Trump administration removes Florida from offshore drilling list

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke moved last week to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in almost all United States coastal waters, opening more than a billion acres in the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard to potential leases.

Among those governors were Republicans: Larry Hogan of Maryland, Henry McMaster of SC and Charles Baker of MA.

Scott, who is expected to run for Senate later this year, came out against the Trump administration plan when it was first announced, saying his top priority is to ensure that Florida's natural resources are protected. Last week, Secretary Zinke announced a proposed plan he called the 'largest number of lease sales ever proposed.' It would expand opportunities in every coastal state.

"California is also "unique" & our "coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.' Our 'local and state voice" is firmly opposed to any and all offshore drilling".

Still on the books are plans for drilling off the gulf coast of Alabama, just roughly 20 miles from Pensacola.

"Our tactic was open everything up, then meet with the governors, meet with the stakeholders so that when we shaped it, it was right", he told reporters at a news conference Tuesday night.

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Oceana, an environmental lobby group, said it was pleased that Zinke had removed Florida from areas open to drilling.

"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts", Nelson said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. "I don't believe it", Nelson said in a statement. "By removing Florida from consideration, we can now focus on how we can further protect our environment, including our proposal for record funding for the Everglades, our springs, our beaches and our state parks".

The five-year plan was to open 90% of the nation's offshore reserves to leasing from drilling companies.

Even the Department of Defense has concerns - about how drilling will interact with the military exercises held in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, reports Reuters.

The decision to remove Florida from consideration begs the question if the concerns of other coastal governors, such as California, will be able to persuade the Trump administation to reconsider plans to drill there as well.

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