Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

After flip on Florida, Inslee wants Washington waters saved from drilling, too

After flip on Florida, Inslee wants Washington waters saved from drilling, too

"Democrats have argued that Trump and Zinke were being hypocritical by agreeing to a request by Florida's Republican governor to withdraw from the drilling plan, but not making the same accommodation to states with Democratic governors".

Governors and legal experts say that the drilling plan could be struck down if Zinke does not provide the same consideration to other states as he did to Florida. "People love our beaches", Mr. Scott, Florida Republican, said on Fox News. "California and other coastal states also rely on our lovely coasts for tourism and our economy".

Zinke last week released a sweeping plan to open almost all waters off the nation's coastlines to oil and gas drilling, including a new lease sale off OR and Washington proposed for 2021.

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. "Where do we sign up for a waiver [Secretary Zinke]?" "Local voice matters", he insisted.

Since Thursday, Zinke also has spoken to the governors of SC and Delaware.

Zinke flew to Tallahassee on Tuesday to meet in person with Scott - a staunch Trump ally who pushed back against the administration's offshore proposal even before an official announcement.

Scott said he was pleased at the administration's change of heart.

Hockaday said Zinke agreed with concerns about the economic risks that offshore drilling could bring to OR, and committed to work with Brown and visit the state as part of a process to consider exempting OR from the offshore drilling plan. "I don't believe it", Nelson said in a statement.

"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts".

"This is about playing politics with our coast", Sierra Weaver, Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), said.

Zinke said last week that the drilling plan called for responsible development that would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along USA coastlines.

According to the Huff Post, Zink told reporters on Thursday that "the administration has identified 47 potential lease sales, including 19 off the coast of Alaska and 12 in the Gulf of Mexico".

It is still unclear how much industry interest there would be in offshore drilling in the area when there may be many other more promising areas to explore offshore or known reserves to develop onshore.

The draft plan now under development would run from 2019 through 2024. The plan follows Trump's executive order in April encouraging more drilling rights in federal waters, part of the administration's strategy to help the USA achieve "energy dominance" in the global market.

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