Zinke will reconsider OR coast drilling

Ceria Alfonso
Enero 13, 2018

Brown is at least the eighth governor to set up phone calls with Zinke over his proposal to open up offshore oil and natural gas drilling permits between 2019 and 2024 on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state said Thursday that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's decision to give Florida a last-minute exemption while ignoring at least 10 other states that made similar requests may violate requirements of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which governs drilling in USA coastal waters.

"I grew up on Virginia's Eastern Shore and can tell you firsthand that the Chesapeake Bay and the Commonwealth's ocean and coastal resources are every bit as ecologically and economically valuable as those of Florida, a state that was recently exempted from the leasing plan", Northam wrote in a letter to Zinke.

Some analysts see the Florida case as politically motivated, but whatever the reasons, the governors of Oregon, Washington, New York, Virginia, and nearly all others except for Alaska and ME, demanded that their states be exempt, too.

Zinke and Brown, a Democrat, spoke for 28 minutes, said her spokesman, Bryan Hockaday.

Oil platform used for offshore drilling. "Brown asked for the same consideration for Oregon's "people's coast" as was given Florida", Hockaday said.

"This political decision to open the magnificent and handsome Pacific Coast waters to oil and gas drilling flies in the face of decades of strong opposition on the part of Washington, Oregon and California - from Republicans and Democrats alike", they said in a joint statement.

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The governors of California and Washington have also told Interior they strongly oppose any new leasing off their coasts and asked to be removed from the plan.

Analysts see the administration's move as opening a wider legal crack in the offshore drilling plan, with states and environmentalists waiting in the wings to start suing.

Zinke added that he supports Scott's position that "Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver". "Secretary Zinke did not provide that commitment, unfortunately". "If it was anything but that, Secretary Zinke would have announced tonight that he was removing Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, where offshore drilling has already been rejected by local and state voices".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders denied the administration gave special treatment to Scott, a Republican and ally of President Donald Trump who is considered a likely Senate candidate later this year.

Scott had publicly pushed back against the administration's offshore proposal last week - even before there was an official announcement.

The Trump administration's plan would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to development by private companies.

Most Democrats oppose the plan. Providing all of our states with the same exemption from unsafe offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm's way.

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