Gov. Rick Scott, a strong ally of President Donald Trump, is asking to meet immediately with Trump administration officials over the federal government’s planned announcement that much of the nation’s coastline will be open to offshore drilling.
“Based on media reports, it is likely that the Department of the Interior will consider Florida as a potential state for offshore oil drilling – which is something I oppose in Florida,” Scott said in a statement released by his office Thursday.
The proposal would open up just about all of the U.S. coastline to offshore drilling for oil.
“I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary [Ryan] Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration,” Scott added. “My top priority is to ensure that Florida’s natural resources are protected, which is why I proposed $1.7 billion for the environment in this year’s budget.”
Florida has long opposed oil drilling off its coastline. With the state’s economy so dependent on tourism, the state has been protective of its coastal regions. That is especially true following the BP oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 resulting in oil washing up on beaches hurting tourism and the fishing industry.
But permitting offshore drilling along section’s of the U.S. coastline that have been untouched by drilling until now, was one of the promises made by Trump during his presidential campaign in order to increase the nation’s energy production.
The five-year offshore lease proposal, which would run from 2019 through 2024, would open up about 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf.