Nearly All Coastal Governors Denounce Plan to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

“Your decision to remove Florida from consideration of any new oil and gas platforms before your department has even concluded its public fact-finding process appears arbitrary,” Cuomo wrote

"We agree with your assessment that drilling for oil and gas offshore could negatively impact a coastal state's tourism industry, and New Jersey is no exception to that rule".

Cuomo, a Democrat, noted that the Republican administration exempted Florida and should do the same for NY.

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.

That surprised officials in other states and prompted Democratic lawmakers to accuse Zinke of favoritism - a charge he has denied. Some in the oil and gas industry have also panned the Florida decision.

In the meantime, we are glad that there are no plans for drilling off the Florida coast.

"The ability to provide affordable energy for consumers and meet the growing domestic and global demand depends on the ability to safely and responsibly explore and develop our offshore energy resources, including in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico", Gerard said.

"I support the governor's position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver", Zinke said in a message announcing his decision.

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It may be just a coincidence that Florida went big for Donald Trump in 2016, and that Scott is a buddy of the president's.

South Carolina's Republican governor, Henry McMaster, has said he is seeking an exemption from the drilling plan, while Georgia's Republican governor, Nathan Deal, said he was concerned about drilling in coastal Georgia.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration started taking steps to dramatically increase offshore drilling.

Opposition to the plan is creating odd 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. Since then, the governors of North and SC have requested meetings and other Atlantic Coast governors have criticized the plan.

"The long-term health of New York's economy is inextricably linked to protecting our ocean resources", Cuomo wrote in his letter to Zinke.

Last week, a Zinke aide said the secretary has said since "day one" he wanted to hear from local voices and that governors could request a meeting with Zinke to discuss concerns.

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