Late yesterday in a stunning announcement via Twitter, Interior Secretary Zinke declared he plans to remove Florida from the administration’s draft five-year offshore drilling plan, after opposition from Republican governor, Rick Scott.
“Two days in, the Trump administration has shown us exactly what their offshore drilling proposal is all about and it has nothing to do with listening to local and state voices, economics, or science. This is about playing politics with our coast,” said SELC Senior Attorney Sierra Weaver. “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.”
Citing that Florida is “unique” and that “its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke’s announcement flies in the face of other states who weighed in during a lengthy process overwhelmingly against offshore drilling and the threats it poses to coastal communities and economies.
The Trump administration’s offshore drilling proposal defies formal requests from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe that their states be omitted from the five-year plan. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam have also voiced opposition against seismic testing and offshore drilling.
“The fact is that an oil spill doesn’t know or care where one state ends, and another begins – and Florida remains at risk, just like all states in the Mid- and South Atlantic,” said Weaver. “The administration should end its crusade for Big Oil and actually listen to voices on the ground that made it crystal clear they do not want drilling off their coasts.”
Since then, Governors across the country, including in the Southeast, have asked for comparable treatment for their coasts.
The decision to exempt Florida from the administration's offshore drilling plan is encouraging. Today I'm asking that the same exemption be made for Virginia. pic.twitter.com/86j90JRvPk— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) January 11, 2018