Florida Waters No Longer Off-shore Drilling Site, Benefits Bay County Economy

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The oil industry criticized the Trump administration Wednesday for excluding waters near Florida from offshore drilling.

On the west coast, which faces the prospect of the first drilling in the Pacific in three decades, Kate Brown, the governor of OR, tweeted to Zinke "let's do the same for Oregon" in reference to the Florida decision. "Kudos to Governor Scott and Florida's congressional delegation for strongly protesting the initial plan to expand drilling", the tweet said.

The American Petroleum Institute, another supporter of the new plan, cited a Harris Poll survey that reported that 77 percent of voters support more oil and gas development, with 68 percent specifically supporting more offshore drilling.

But Zinke said it was Scott's concerns about oil spills damaging Florida's beaches and tourism industry that led to the reversal.

"Our goal certainly isn't to cross Governor Scott", Sanders said during a daily press briefing.

"Suddenly Secretary Zinke announces plans to drill off Florida's coast and four days later agrees to 'take Florida off the table?' I don't believe it", Nelson said in a released statement. "As a result of discussion with Governor Scott's (sic) and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms".

Gov Scott cheered the decision, saying he would "never stop fighting for Florida's environment and our pristine coastline". "Bill Nelson has made this about politics", said National Republican Senatorial Committee Communications Director Katie Martin. But it apparently helps that the person asking is a Republican contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate against a Democratic incumbent, and the change in policy spared him from having to run with an oil-stained albatross wrapped around his neck.

What does the decision mean?

Map of Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The draft proposes nine: three in the mid-Atlantic, three in the south Atlantic, two for the north Atlantic and one for the Straits of Florida.

The governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Oregon and Washington all have opposed offshore drilling plans.

"How, after this statement, do you justify extending the program to other states where the governors object, which is majority?"

What's so controversial about the plan?

Lawmakers and environmentalists could seek to block the plan through congressional action or lawsuits.

The move comes after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recent announcement that most of the country's outer continental shelf is being looked at for drilling. By comparison, the current program approved by the Obama administration puts 94 percent of the OCS off limits.

"I fear this announcement of Secretary Zinke's is going to discourage Floridians from commenting on the proposal that was published just this Monday ... because our Floridians have been given false assurances that we all are in the clear". Scott was part of a bipartisan group blasting the plan, which would have scrapped the existing moratorium on drilling, which is set to expire in 2022.

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