Politics

Nearly All Coastal Governors Denounce Plan to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

Politicians from coastal states around the country continue to call for their states to be exempt from the Trump administration's proposed expansion of offshore drilling following its politically-tinged decision last week to remove Florida from the plan.

The Interior Department said last week that Secretary Ryan Zinke had spoken with seven coastal governors opposed to drilling, including the governors of North and South Carolina, Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's office told press Zinke would consider removing the state from the plan following their call, while California Gov. Jerry Brown's office reports that Zinke promised to travel to the state to further discuss the offshore leases.

Opposition to the plan is creating strange political bedfellows in several states: outgoing Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his incoming replacement, Democrat Phil Murphy, sent a letter with Democrat Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez asking Zinke to withdraw New Jersey from the plan, while Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) is finding common ground with some Republican congressmen as well as local business leaders in his state in voicing opposition to the plan.

As reported by The Hill:

Interior is obligated by law to consult with governors, congressional delegations and coastal communities as it crafts its plan.

All Pacific and Atlantic governors have expressed outright opposition or concerns about drilling off their state's shores, except Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R).

In a letter to Zinke, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that offshore drilling "poses an unacceptable threat" to New York's environment and economy, the New York Post reported.

"It introduces the unprecedented risk of extremely hazardous oil spills, contributes to the acceleration of climate change, and conflicts with New York's ambitious agenda to develop offshore wind energy," the governor said.

"With this plan, the federal government is trampling on the interests of New Yorkers and threatening the future well-being of our state."

For a deeper dive:

Zinke: The Hill. OR: AP. CA: Politico Pro. NJ: CNN, SNJ Today. VA: WTVF, Daily Press, WAVY, ABC13. Gov. opposition: New York Post. Commentary: Times of Trenton editorial, NJ Star-Ledger editorial

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