US declares Florida exempt from offshore drilling plan

January 11, 2018
The abrupt reversal came days after officials announced a proposal to allow drilling in virtually all coastal waters

The Trump administration on Tuesday said it would not allow oil drilling off the coast of Florida after pressure from the state's Republican governor.

The abrupt reversal came days after officials announced a proposal to allow drilling in virtually all , drawing immediate criticism from environmentalists.

Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida was among the early critics of the plan that is part of President Donald Trump's "energy dominance" focus, saying threatened Florida's natural resources, an issue that has long had bipartisan support.

Interior secretary Ryan Zinke announced the move on Twitter, saying: "I support the governor's position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.

"As a result... I am removing Florida from consideration from any new oil and gas platforms."

The program "proposes the largest number of lease sales in US history," and opens 98 percent of and gas reserves in federally-controlled waters to development, according to the Interior Department.

While offshore drilling is defended as a vital source of jobs and economic development in a few states like Texas and Louisiana, many other parts of the country have vigorously fought drilling due to environmental hazards and the importance of tourism to their local economies.

Republican governors including Maryland's Larry Hogan and South Carolina's Henry McMaster have balked at offshore , while the practice is anathema in Democratic-leaning California and northeastern states.

California's attorney general Xavier Becerra immediately demanded a similar exemption for his state.

"California is also 'unique' & our 'coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.'" he tweeted.

"Our 'local and state voice' is firmly opposed to any and all . If that's your standard, we, too, should be removed from your list. Immediately."

Explore further: California is well-equipped to block new drilling

Related Stories

California is well-equipped to block new drilling

January 8, 2018

There are two things working against the Trump administration's proposal to open up California coastal waters to new oil and gas drilling: state regulators and simple economics.

Trump moves to lift bans on Arctic drilling

April 28, 2017

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at lifting bans on drilling for oil and gas in offshore Arctic and Atlantic areas, saying it would pull in "billions of dollars" for America and create jobs.

Drill, baby, drill? Election reignites offshore-oil debate

November 22, 2016

The controversy over drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean has been reignited by the election of Donald Trump, and environmentalists and coastal businesses say it could be the first major fault line that divides them from ...

Obama U-turn on Atlantic drilling

March 15, 2016

President Barack Obama's administration on Tuesday signaled it was jettisoning plans to open swathes of the western Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling, a U-turn that delighted environmentalist groups.

Recommended for you

Technology near for real-time TV political fact checks

January 18, 2019

A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate.

Privacy becomes a selling point at tech show

January 7, 2019

Apple is not among the exhibitors at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't prevent the iPhone maker from sending a message to attendees on a large billboard.

China's Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

January 7, 2019

Huawei Technologies Ltd. showed off a new processor chip for data centers and cloud computing Monday, expanding into new and growing markets despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.