Trump Expands Offshore Drilling in "Assault" on Biodiversity and Coastal & Indigenous Communities

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The Trump administration released last week to open almost all USA waters, including huge swaths of the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, to oil exploration - a move that drew outrage from both Democrats and Republicans.

Some wonder if the sudden reversal was nothing more than a stunt to help get Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) elected to the Senate in 2018, while California's top prosecutor pointed out that tourism and beauty are not unique to the Republican-led Sunshine State.

In addition to Florida, the states of Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Washington have all opposed this plan for new leases off their coasts. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, who released statements Thursday asking Zinke to remove Washington's offshore waters from new oil and gas exploration.

When asked what caused the administration to change its position on Florida drilling, Zinke said bluntly, "The governor".

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According to Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress and former deputy chief of staff in Obama's Interior Department, Zinke's Twitter announcement that Florida will be exempt undermines the process of the drafting of the final drilling plan.

"Regarding the offshore drilling ban, Gov". If it is safe off the coast of SC, why is it not safe in Florida. In the Pacific Northwest region, an Interior Department map denoted a strip of ocean close by Washington's coast as places where oil was most likely to be found.

"Our tactic was open everything up, then meet with the governors, meet with the stakeholders so that when we shaped it, it was right", he told reporters at a news conference Tuesday night. The Trump Administration denies that Florida received a special exemption because President Trump owns property along the state's coastline.

For now, Zinke appears to have tuned out pleas from leaders in blue states. Mounting uncertainties over the timeline and legislation could deter oil companies from planning to spend big on exploration, while drilling along the coastal areas could be challenged by states and could increase risks for oil firms' budget planning and possible legal expenses. Coastal cities and towns across the country have also passed resolutions in opposition while local residents, businesses, scientists, the military, and others have publicly raised serious concerns. "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". "We shouldn't be playing politics with the future of Florida". Alaska and ME are the only two US states whose governors have expressed support for the plan.