Tags: rick scott | drilling | opposed | ryan zinke

Fla. Gov. Rick Scott Opposes Trump Drilling Plan

Image: Fla. Gov. Rick Scott Opposes Trump Drilling Plan
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 04 January 2018 03:14 PM

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday opposed the Trump administration's plan to open nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, reversing protections in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific.

"I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration," Scott said in a statement posted on Twitter, referring to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Zinke said the draft National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019 to 2024 would make over 90 percent of the outer continental shelf's total acreage available for leasing, including areas put off-limits by the Obama White House.

"We want to grow our nation's offshore energy industry, instead of slowly surrendering it to foreign shores," Zinke said, noting that the plan was part of the Trump administration's "American Energy Dominance" agenda.

Zinke's department has identified 47 potential lease sales, versus 11 under former President Barack Obama's strategy, making it "the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history" offered in a federal five-year plan.

Scott, a Republican whose second term ends later this year, joins environmentalists and some business groups in objecting to the Trump administration's plan to expand U.S. energy production, citing spills and the potential impact on coastal tourism.

Obama had banned new oil and gas drilling in federal waters in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans shortly before leaving office, protecting 115 million acres of waters off Alaska and 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic from New England to the Chesapeake Bay.

On New Year's Eve, Trump had lunch with Scott at his golf resort to discuss hurricane recovery efforts, infrastructure and other issues — and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that the administration would continue to work with Scott despite his objections to the drilling plan.

"Just because we may differ on issues from time to time doesn't mean that we can't still have an incredibly strong and good relationship," Sanders told reporters at the daily briefing. "We'll continue those conversations with him and hopefully all come to agreement."

Scott is considered a top potential challenger to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in this year's midterm elections, though he has not announced his intentions.

In September, Trump encouraged Scott to run for the Senate.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday opposed the Trump administration's plan to open nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, reversing protections in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific.
rick scott, drilling, opposed, ryan zinke
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2018-14-04
Thursday, 04 January 2018 03:14 PM
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