ALLEN: The news that Florida was receiving a special exemption from offshore drilling was hardly out before governors and other officials from coastal states began asking for similar treatment.
Is this thing on?
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined eight New England Democrats and an independent on Thursday to introduce legislation barring offshore drilling along the New England coast.
California Rep. Adam Schiff voiced some people's opinion that the move was politically motivated, tweeting: "Dear Secretary Zinke, California like Florida, has hundreds of miles of lovely coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way. Or is that not enough for blue states?"
Linking to Zinke tweet about Florida, Brown wrote: "Hey @secretaryzinke, how about doing the same for #Oregon?".
Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone said the governor had not contacted the White House about the issue but had expressed his concerns to Zinke in face-to-face meetings in October and on Tuesday, as well as in multiple phone calls. The Senate group, led by Democratic Sens.
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.
Lawmakers and governors of other states were outraged.
The governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Oregon and Washington all have opposed offshore drilling plans. Otherwise, one could conclude that the exemption is only for states that supported Trump in 2016 - so-called red states - and have Republican governors.
"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".
"Offshore drilling decisions in the United States are, by law, supposed to be guided by science, public input, and a careful balancing of environmental and energy needs", he said.
Nelson called Scott's meeting with Zinke "a political stunt" and said Scott has long wanted to drill off Florida's coast, despite his recent opposition.
"Our coastal beaches are really important to Oregonians".
Zinke last week released a sweeping plan to open almost all waters off the nation's coastlines to oil and gas drilling, including a new lease sale off OR and Washington proposed for 2021.
"The secretary has said since day one that he is interested in hearing the local voice", she said.
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.
"I'm appreciative that the secretary came to Tallahassee to sit down and talk about it and has committed that as a result of our interest in making sure there's no drilling here that Florida will be taken off the table", Scott said.
In a Wednesday interview with The Washington Post, Zinke said he first met Scott when his state and the federal government were preparing for Hurricane Irma, then a second time when the two worked on Everglades restoration. 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.
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