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Like Florida, Virginia seeks offshore drilling exemption

Like Florida, Virginia seeks offshore drilling exemption”

In a hastily called news conference in the Tallahassee airport Tuesday night after meeting with Gov. Rick Scott, Zinke said Florida would be removed from consideration for drilling because it's a "recreation-centric coast" as opposed to other states like Louisiana. "The president has tasked me to develop an energy policy offshore but also taking into consideration local and state interests".

After a sudden meeting with Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Florida would be waived from having new drilling take place off its coasts.

Following is a statement from Lisa Pohlmann, executive director, Natural Resources Council of Maine, in response to the proposal to open Maine waters to drilling:The Trump Administration today released a risky five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic Ocean - including off the coast of Maine, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Arctic Ocean.

Scott had criticized the Trump administration's decision to support offshore oil and gas drilling on the outer continental shelf off the coasts of the US.

Sen. Nelson said he's filed new legislation to permanently ban drilling off of Florida's coast.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo-a Democrat-poked Zinke on Twitter, saying, "Where do we sign up for a waiver Secretary Zinke?"

In a Wednesday interview with The Washington Post, Zinke said he first met Scott when his state and the federal government were preparing for Hurricane Irma, then a second time when the two worked on Everglades restoration.

Zinke called Scott a "straightforward leader that can be trusted" in his statement announcing the decision, giving Scott all the credit for the reversal.

The soon to be gone New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie along with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, and Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan want no part of offshore drilling in their respective states.

Some have questioned whether exempting Florida was a "political ploy" to aid Scott, who is reportedly planning to run for U.S. Senate.

Nelson's comments confused some, since he has routinely opposed offshore drilling, the very issue the Trump administration sided with on Tuesday.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has exempted the state of Florida from controversial plans for offshore drilling for oil and gas. Bill Nelson, a long-time drilling foe, later this year in what would be one of the nation's most hotly contested Senate races.

Other states along the coasts, many with Republican governors, have pledged to fight the rule and seek the same exemption Florida received.

"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts", Nelson said in a statement responding to the Tuesday announcement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra described the proposal as a "non-starter".

The governor's office said in a statement that he has "some concerns with opening up Georgia's pristine coastlines which he will convey to the congressional delegation". "Offshore drilling holds the same risks for North Carolina as it does for Florida and North Carolina deserves the same exemption".

"The Maine lobster industry, for example, has an estimated $1.7 billion impact to the state's economy annually, not to mention the many other fishing, aquaculture and coastal tourism industries in Maine that help to support the economy", the senators wrote.



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