Gov. Inslee demands Trump administration not drill off Washington coast

  • Gov. Inslee demands Trump administration not drill off Washington coast

Gov. Inslee demands Trump administration not drill off Washington coast

Atlantic and Pacific coast governors protested, but only one - Republican Rick Scott of Florida - was granted a private meeting with Zinke.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke's surprise trip to Tallahassee Tuesday night to announce Florida would no longer be considered for future offshore oil and gas drilling leases has left governors and lawmakers from other coastal states wondering when their voices will be heard as well. He said on Wednesday that California will seek the same exemption. "Or is that not enough for blue states?"

"If local voices matter why haven't they excluded Virginia?"

"The waters off Maine's coast provide a healthy ecosystem for our state's fisheries and support a vigorous tourism industry, both of which support thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars in revenue for ME each year", said a statement from Collins and Sen.

"We can not afford to take a chance with the beauty, the majesty and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline in SC".

On Wednesday, the administration chose to exempt Florida waters after a meeting between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Zinke. The group called the Florida withdrawal "premature" and said restricting access to the Eastern Gulf of Mexico in particular "puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk across the country and along the Gulf Coast".

Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for Zinke, accused Kaine and other Democrats of taking cheap shots at her boss.

"There are multiple uses of the outer continental shelf, and one form of energy development does not take precedence over another", Moriarty said.

"In this case Governor Deal can learn from our neighbors and send a clear message against drilling off Georgia coasts", she said. "Their criticism is empty pandering".

Other Republican coastal governors have expressed opposition to the plan as well, including South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

In Oregon, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown took to Twitter to ask Zinke for relief. Zinke tweeted that Scott is a "straightforward leader who can be trusted".

Unlike other extreme Trump administration proposals, offshore oil drilling has always been opposed by coastal state residents and their elected representatives, including many Republicans.

The state is also important economically, with a multibillion-dollar tourism business built on sunshine and miles of white sandy beaches. Also discomfiting is the question of how much Mr. Trump's ownership of Florida beachfront property factored into the decision. Trump spent his Christmas and New Year's break at his Mar-a-Lago resort. "I am encouraged by the decision to exempt Florida from the plan, and respectfully ask that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia".

The letter follows Northam's previous statement condemning the Trump administration's drilling proposal.

Zinke said Tuesday that "Florida is obviously unique" and that the decision to remove the state came after meetings and discussion with Scott.

"I'm not aware of any political favor that that (Florida exemption) would have been part of, so, no", Sanders said.

However, only Scott was able to get results from his immediate opposition. A democratic challenger, Kyle Horton, opposes oil exploration. "This is good policy for Florida", said John Tupps, a Scott spokesman.

A week ago, the Trump administration announced a major expansion to offshore drilling with a plan that would open up federal waters for the first time in more than three decades.

Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who lives on Sea Island, said energy independence is of prime concern to him but that officials need to make sure the returns for drilling in the Atlantic are worth the expense.

Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress and former deputy chief of staff under Obama's Interior Department, said Zinke's action by Tweet could undermine his five-year offshore plan.

Industry groups praised the announcement, while environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would impose "severe and unacceptable harm" to America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.