A Coastal non-starter

Source: By Anthony Adragna, Politico • Posted: Monday, January 8, 2018

A COASTAL NON-STARTER: The Trump administration’s proposal Thursday to open virtually every nook and cranny from Alaska and Florida to offshore oil and gas companies didn’t get much love from lawmakers whose formerly off-limits coastlines would face potential new drilling. Florida Tea Party Republicans along with California progressive Democrats bashed the drilling plan unveiled by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and vowed to fight it. ICYMI, here’s Pro’s Ben Lefebvre with deets of the plan and some reactions:

It’s hard to find support for Zinke’s plan from a single congressional Republican whose district would face potential new drilling. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Tea Party-aligned Floridian who’s called for eliminating the EPA, bashed the proposal as bad for national security: “Not only does offshore drilling threaten the Gulf Coast with another potential catastrophe like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, it also jeopardizes our national security,” he said in a statement. South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford , a Freedom Caucus member, said it ignored local wishes: “Whether you are for or against offshore drilling, I think we could all agree that locals should have some degree of voice on what happens in their backyard,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this proposal explicitly ignores local opposition.”

Three Democratic West Coast governors – California’s Jerry Brown, Oregon’s Kate Brown and Washington’s Jay Inslee – said they “won’t forget history or ignore science” and “do whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action.” Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott was first out of the gate to bash the proposal, prompting White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to state its “goal certainly isn’t to cross Gov. Scott.” North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vowed to “pursue every option to prevent oil drilling near North Carolina’s beaches, coastal communities, and fishing waters.”

Of course, the plan had its defenders: Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, whose home state is a hub for existing offshore drilling, said on the Senate floor he was sensitive to concerns about impacts to the tourism industry and military, but vowed energy development could co-exist with them. “I share my colleagues’ interest in protecting our communities, businesses, and the environment. The reality is that these goals are not mutually exclusive, especially on the Gulf Coast,” he said. And Senate Energy Chairman Lisa Murkowski praised it as a “positive step” that “launches a new discussion with local stakeholders to determine where responsible energy development should take place.”