In surprise switch, Trump Administration drops plan for oil and gas drilling off Florida

In surprise switch, Trump Administration drops plan for oil and gas drilling off Florida 

Posted: 8:32 pm Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

By Jamie Dupree

Five days after the Trump Administration announced plans to open almost all coastal areas of the United States to new oil and gas exploration, the Interior Secretary announced that the feds will take possible drilling “off the table” along the coastline of Florida, after facing opposition from the Governor of Florida, a key ally of the President.

“I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, after a short meeting with Gov. Rick Scott at the airport in Tallahassee.

Scott had spoken out strongly against the drilling plan last week, which envisioned the possibility of drilling along the entire coast, from Fernandina Beach in the northeast, south to Key West, and all along the Gulf Coast to Pensacola.

It wasn’t just the Republican Governor of Florida who opposed the drilling plan, as members of both parties in the state’s Congressional delegation had expressed their opposition to the plan – as they now welcomed the Trump Administration’s change of heart.

“Great news,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

“Thank you Secretary Zinke for listening and responding,” said Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL).

As for Democrats, they swiftly raised questions about the move, and called for Congress to approve a oil and gas exploration moratorium along the Florida coastline, in order to put a drilling ban into law.

“This is a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott who has wanted to drill off Florida’s coast his entire career,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

The quick retreat by the feds raised the question of whether the Trump Administration might also change course for other coastal states, which have also expressed opposition to the dramatic expansion of possible offshore oil and gas exploration.

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