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So what exactly are the offshore drilling plans, Florida senator asks

So what exactly are the offshore drilling plans, Florida senator asks

"As the Trump administration considers a new plan to drill for oil and gas off the coast of New Jersey, it is imperative you hear from residents, businesses and local officials in communities along South Jersey's coast", said LoBiondo, whose district includes Atlantic City, wrote in a separate letter to the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. One can not help but compare this episode to the tax bill Mr. Trump just signed, which strips deductions from taxpayers in blue states in order to fund various GOP ideological priorities.

Meanwhile, as Governing notes, it's a little surprising that the Trump administration opted to make an exception for Florida - not just because of the backlash from other states but because of the potential profit in the eastern Gulf, right off Florida's coast. Two of the three are Republicans, including Rep. Mark Sanford, a former governor who said Zinke had set a precedent by honoring Florida's request for an exemption.

In other words, his decision is a model of ideological extremism tempered by partisan favoritism. Otherwise we would find ourselves asking the same question that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown posed on CNN, "Why is this OK for Florida and not OK for Oregon?"

In announcing the exemption for Florida on Tuesday, Zinke called Scott "a straightforward leader that can be trusted".

Sierra Weaver, a lawyer for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said Zinke's move was a breach of protocol that will put the Interior Department on shaky legal footing if the secretary doesn't treat other coastal states in the same way.

Pacific coast state governors announced their united opposition to re-opening the Pacific coast to offshore drilling in a joint-statement. With the Florida decision, the Trump administration has shown that it may not use fair, reasonable metrics in its decision making. Trump spent his Christmas and New Year's break at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

"The waters off Maine's coast provide a healthy ecosystem for our state's fisheries and support a vigorous tourism industry, both of which support thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars in revenue for ME each year", said a statement from Collins and Sen. "I am encouraged by the decision to exempt Florida from the plan, and respectfully ask that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia".

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Trump is "exempting the state that is home to the festering cankerous conflict of interest that the administration likes to call the "Winter White House" and none of the other affected states", Shaub tweeted.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted, New York doesn't want drilling off our coast either.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the plan would bolster the country's economy and energy security while funding conservation efforts.

"I will never stop fighting for Florida's environment and our pristine coastline", Scott said Tuesday.

But within the lease sale area off the Washington and OR coasts, the estimated recoverable oil reserves are a modest 400 million barrels of crude, according to an Interior Department document released last week.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift on Thursday released a statement that described the five-year draft plan for offshore drilling as an "open and public process" and said there will be revisions.

Industry groups praised the announcement, while environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would harm America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.