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Like Florida, Virginia Seeks Offshore Drilling Exemption

12 January 2018

Zinke's action has also been criticized by governors and other leaders of various other coastal states. But they can't dismiss the risk out of hand - particularly not after granting Florida officials an exemption from the expansion.

In an interview with CNN, Sanford said the exemption from the Trump administration's new plan to open 98% of the US's offshore waters to drilling for Florida smacked of politics since the state is important in presidential elections.

"The Gulf of Mexico is the backbone of our nation's offshore energy production and restricting access to the Eastern Gulf puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk across the country and along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and MS", he said. Commercial fishing brings in another $95 million every year. "For more than three decades, the exploration or leasing for oil and gas in the North Atlantic has not been justified, and we believe this holds true today more than ever". Scott said drilling wouldn't happen in the "foreseeable future.We are not going to drill now.It's not safe".

"President Trump has directed me to rebuild our offshore oil and gas program in a manner that supports our national energy policy and also takes into consideration the local and state voice", Zinke said.

That voice is expressed just as clearly by Cooper, McMaster and many other governors as it was by Scott.

One reason, according to MacManus that Scott is now boarding the no-drill train, is having to win over younger voters if he decides to run.

Late Tuesday, Nelson blasted the announcement as a "political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott".

On whether he would challenge Nelson for his Senate seat at the end of his term as governor, Scott said he still has 362 days left in office and is focused on "making sure this is a state everybody wants to live".

"The Trump administration wants to put fish and fisheries at significant risk while lining the pockets of their oil industry co-conspirators".

David Hayes, a former adviser to President Barack Obama and director of New York University's State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, wrote that the plan would be hard to defend because it "smacks of an impulsive, undisciplined, arbitrary process". Current oil rigs are responsible for an estimated 30,000 oil spills per year, and companies pursuing seismic underwater testing and exploratory drilling could harm fish populations too. "If those governors would like to request meetings with the secretary, they are absolutely welcome to do so". This means that ME communities, fishermen, and coastal residents could be exposed to significant new dangers from oil pollution.

Offshore drilling won't produce benefits for ME, but the risks to Maine's coastal economy would be huge and immediate. Or is it about President Trump wanting to protect Mar-a-Lago?

Gov Scott cheered the decision, saying he would "never stop fighting for Florida's environment and our pristine coastline".

Like Florida, Virginia Seeks Offshore Drilling Exemption