Gov. Christie Wants Exemption for New Jersey on Offshore Drilling

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Democratic governors along both coasts unanimously oppose coastal drilling, as have a number of Republican governors, including Maryland's Gov. Larry Hogan, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Gov. Charles Baker of MA.

Florida Governor Rick Scott quickly voiced his opposition, as did many other coastal governors. He posted a statement on Twitter that said, "I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts".

Instead, the letter warned about the effects of oil and gas activities on the environment and urged that "long-term protection of Florida's sensitive coastal and marine resources should be of paramount concern" in developing a drilling plan.

Other states along the coasts, many with Republican governors, have pledged to fight the rule and seek the same exemption Florida received.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, called Zinke's action troubling.

Lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature said Thursday that they'll bring back a bill that would prohibit the building of infrastructure, including pipelines, related to petroleum development in California waters. Days later, Scott told the Tampa Bay Times that he hadn't seen the proposal and declined to comment.

"This draft proposal is an ill-advised effort to circumvent public and scientific input, and we object to sacrificing public trust, community safety, and economic security for the interests of the oil industry", the 36 senators wrote to Zinke.

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke now says Florida's Gulf and Atlantic coasts will be off-limits to drilling because the state is "obviously unique." . "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".

Zinke has said he based his decision on that appeal. Zinke, containing a number of questions.

"Under President Trump, we're going to have the strongest energy policy and become the strongest energy superpower", he said.

But Gross is concerned that Florida's Republican governor opposed the drilling proposal as a matter of political expedience. "It is important that Interior complies with all the legal procedures and requirements for putting together" a drilling program on the Outer Continental Shelf, Porter said. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, expressed opposition to the oil drilling plans.

On Wednesday, Cooper asked Zinke for an immediate meeting on the issue.

Florida's exemption from the renewal of offshore drilling raised suspicions that Gov. Rick Scott's political affiliation - Republican - his closeness to President Trump, and the location of Trump's beachfront Mar-a-Lago resort, aka the winter White House, in Florida were factors in Zinke's decision. Most legal challenges, however, will likely come when the Interior Department releases its final five-year offshore plan. 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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