Trump Administration Says New Drilling Won’t Be Allowed Off Florida Coast Wall Street Journal (01/10/18) Puko, Timothy
The Trump administration told Florida's governor it will not consider new oil and gas drilling off the state's coast, backtracking on plans to expand offshore drilling all around the U.S. and bowing to pressure from fellow Republicans in the state. The move is a crack in a five-year drilling plan the Interior Department announced just last week, one already under fire from political leaders in both parties from most coastal states. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he made the decision Tuesday evening after meeting in the state capital with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, one of several Republicans who had denounced plans to lease coastal waters there to drillers for the first time in more than 30 years. The administration has not backed down from the rest of its proposal, which it has planned to sell to opponents over the next 18 months. But skeptics think it could take more than two years to finalize the plan and that it will face challenges from state leaders in the courts and in Congress. "As a result of discussion with Governor Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms," Zinke said in a statement. The administration’s plan faced particular resistance from lawmakers from Florida, in part because it has the most at stake: Oil companies consider the waters off the state the most logical and prized options for new drilling, while the tourism industry has been Florida’s priority for decades.