Trump administration bars oil drilling off Florida after governor's plea

Maricruz Casares
Enero 10, 2018

"Based on media reports, it is likely that the Department of the Interior will consider Florida as a potential state for offshore oil drilling - which is something I oppose in Florida", Scott said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke announced the move on Twitter, saying: "I support the governor's position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver. As a result of today's discussion and Governor Scott's leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms".

"It's a good day for Florida", he said, adding, "I think it's very important to continue our efforts to take care of our environment".

While the move by Rooney and Scott may cause some friction, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the disagreement would not damage the administration's relationship with the swing-state governor.

The governors of New York and Oregon and the attorneys general of Maryland and California were among those who called on Zinke to ban offshore drilling.

Angelle argues, in essence, that the oil industry can be trusted to police itself.

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Zinke said last week that the department's draft National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019 to 2024 would make over 90 percent of the outer continental shelf's total acreage available for leasing to drillers, a national record. Obama's 2017-2022 plan would be replaced by the new program when it is finalized.

On Tuesday, Zinke stated President Donald Trump had directed him to rebuild the nation's oil and gas program "in a manner that supports our national energy policy and also takes into consideration the local and state voice". "Industry self-policing is not a substitute for government. and the cost of forgetting that essential premise can be calamitous".

"This plan is an early signal to the global marketplace that the United States intends to remain a global leader in responsible offshore energy development and produce affordable American energy for many decades to come", said Katharine MacGregor, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

A coalition of more than 60 environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would impose "severe and unacceptable harm" to America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life. As the Deepwater commission noted, "To be allowed to drill on the outer continental shelf is a privilege to be earned, not a private right to be exercised".

Commissioner Donna Fiala agreed, worrying about what the impacts of drilling operations off Florida's coastline could have in the minds of potential visitors to the area. Nineteen sales would be off Alaska, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, nine in the Atlantic and seven in the Pacific, including six off California. In fiscal year 2016, oil and gas leases on the OCS accounted for approximately 18 percent of domestic oil production and 4 percent of domestic natural gas production. No sales are proposed in the North Aleutian Basin Planning Area that has been under Presidential withdrawal since December 2014.

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