Governor's office: Zinke reconsiders drilling off Oregon Coast

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

In a letter sent to Secretary Zinke, Merkley and Wyden, along with 20 of their colleagues, requested that OR and other affected states be given the same treatment that the Trump Administration gave Florida and be immediately exempted from any new offshore oil OR gas leases.

"The public has a right to know exactly what Interior's plan is and it is unreasonable to expect Floridians to provide input on a plan that may or may not be the plan that your agency is actually considering", Sen.

But Secretary Zinke's decision to take Florida off the table "should have his lawyers cringing", Hayes said.

But taking Florida off the table sparked even more backlash from almost all other coastal states along the Pacific and the Atlantic, with governors and representatives demanding the states they represent be exempt, too.

The request comes two days after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke granted an exemption to the state of Florida after a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Sen.

"This political decision to open the magnificent and handsome Pacific Coast waters to oil and gas drilling flies in the face of decades of strong opposition on the part of Washington, Oregon and California - from Republicans and Democrats alike", they said in a joint statement.

"We invite you to personally visit New Jersey prior to the issuance of the Proposed Program, to learn firsthand about how offshore drilling would harm our communities and our economy", the invitation read. Menendez asked. "Will having three Trump golf courses help?" And if Zinke's decision wasn't political he would have also removed those coastal waters from the plan, she added.

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Zinke announced plans last week to greatly expand offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans, including multiple areas where drilling is now blocked.

Nelson said that, with the offshore draft lease plan up for public comment, but changing, it was unclear exactly what Zinke's department meant to do offshore.

Governor-elect Ralph Northam Thursday requested an exemption to the Trump administration's plan to allow offshore drilling in almost all of United States coastal waters.

Oil platform used for offshore drilling.

Jack Gerard, the head of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry's main lobbying group, said Zinke's decision to exempt Florida was premature.

"I work every day to make this the most welcoming state for everyone - Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans, and others from all around the world that call Florida home".

Hurricane Harvey hit the southern coast of Texas in late August, knocking out much of the regional refineries.

"This proposal mirrors past proposals that have run into a buzzsaw of state opposition", David Hayes, who was the Interior Department's deputy secretary and COO during periods of the Clinton and Obama administrations, told Inside Climate News, commenting on the initial draft plan proposal.

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