Jan 10, 2018

Coastal governors from both parties want offshore drilling exemptions

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Less than a day after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he would remove Florida from his offshore oil-and-gas leasing plan, at least six coastal governors are pressuring the Trump administration to exempt their states as well.

Why it matters: Zinke's decision on Tuesday came in response to objections from Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott, a Trump ally. Of the six governors now pushing back, three are Republicans. Their calls for exemptions could test Zinke's new policy, and reveal whether he will give equal consideration to governors from both parties.

The Florida case: Zinke said offshore drilling in Florida could pose a problem because of the state's reliance on coastal tourism.

What they're saying:

  • Governor John Carney of Delaware, a Democrat via Twitter on Wednesday: “I’m going to request a meeting with @SecretaryZinke to discuss the Trump Administration's offshore drilling plan— and the risks that offshore drilling pose to #Delaware, the state's natural resources, and our tourism economy.”
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat via Twitter on Tuesday: "New York doesn't want drilling off our coast either. Where do we sign up for a waiver @SecretaryZinke?
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat via Twitter on Wednesday: "Is this thing on? I'll try again: Not Off Our Coast."
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, per the Post and Courier: "We cannot afford to take a chance with the beauty, the majesty, and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline,” McMaster told reporters.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican via press secretary, Brian Murray, : "For eight years, the Governor has been steadfastly opposed to drilling off the New Jersey coast. He remains so today. If exceptions are being made for other states, the Governor will certainly pursue the same type of exception for New Jersey."
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, told the Trump administration to withdraw his state from the plan, per the Associated Press. Hogan wrote the state's Democratic attorney general last week, asking him to probe the plan and pursue "any viable legal claims, actions or suits against the U.S. government to prevent" offshore drilling in Maryland.

Go deeper: Decision to back off Florida drilling plan makes wave

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