This month, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced plans to open up much of the Coastal U.S. to petroleum exploration, only to reverse course when it came to Florida.
The decision came after Gov. Rick Scott sought the exemption, citing the importance of the state’s tourism business.
As Politico noted, Scott is mulling a run for the state’s U.S. Senate seat and did not want the drilling albatross hanging around his neck. Also, President Trump’s luxury country club property, Mar-a-Largo is on the coast, leading to claims of a conflict of interest and a banana republic politics.
The action by the Zinke and the Trump Administration also comes amid speculation that the Gulf side of Florida holds the most promise when it comes to possible oil and gas reserves.
Meanwhile, coastal areas of Delaware, Maryland New Jersey and other states are all tourist attractions. No one wants tar balls or worse washing up on the beach.
Coastal states, also tend to be on the blue side, leading to speculation that Zinke’s decision was politically motivated. Then again Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan as well as fellow Republican governors in New Jersey and South Carolina are also drilling opponents
It is safe to say that drilling is about as popular as skunk at a picnic in coastal areas, especially with gas prices now running below $2.50 a gallon and memories of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico still fresh in the minds of many
Also keep in mind that the risks of oil spills off Delaware and New Jersey remain significant, due to large amount of tanker traffic and the lightering that takes place when shipments are moved from supertankers.
Supporters of drilling note that the rigs would probably could not be seen off the coast and after all much of the crunchy granola crowd is fine with wind turbines.
Meanwhile, governors will line up at Zinke’s door, seeking exemptions.Delaware Gov. John Carney issued a letter this morning requesting a meeting with Zinke, who earlier indicated he would meet with governors of the affected states.
This newsletter returns tomorrow as the flow of news remains plentiful in the New Year. – Doug Rainey, publisher.