Northam requests Virginia exemption from Trump administration offshore drilling plan

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Governors and other officials from several USA coastal states ramped up pressure on the Trump administration on Wednesday to exempt their waters from an offshore drilling plan, hours after the Interior Department granted Florida's request to opt out. "Any judge who looks at a final program that exposes some states to drill risks and lets Florida off the hook is going to be skeptical about whether that decision was made in compliance with the law". Gov Andrew M. Cuomo and a some state and local lawmakers also oppose the proposed drilling plan. A source with knowledge of the matter said Cooper was also trying to arrange an immediate meeting with Zinke.

"There are multiple uses of the outer continental shelf, and one form of energy development does not take precedence over another", Moriarty said.

In that statement, Zinke implicitly conceded Scott's point that offshore drilling would present a threat to Florida's coastal environment and economy.

In addition to Florida's Scott, the Republican governors of South Carolina, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey are all against opening the Atlantic to drilling, too, as are the Democratic governors of North Carolina, Delaware and Virginia.

In other words, his decision is a model of ideological extremism tempered by partisan favoritism. In his written statement, Zinke described Scott as a "straightforward leader that can be trusted".

However, it's doubtful if ME - with only two electors - holds the same kind of political weight as a state such as Florida, whose voters sent all of its 29 electors for Trump. Trump spent his Christmas and New Year's break at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Northam's letter asked "that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia".

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.

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"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.

Scott's office said he repeatedly voiced his opposition to drilling to Zinke, including at an October meeting in Washington.

The governors of OR and Washington are expected to do the same. This isn't about politics.

However, the removal of Florida from the list of areas for consideration for oil and gas drilling, and not other states, is seen by governors of other states-¬and a former senior Department of the Interior official-as arbitrary and ripe for legal challenges.

GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire told reporters "of course" he opposed drilling off the New Hampshire coast.

Rick Scott voiced opposition soon after the plan's January 4 release, a letter submitted by the state Department of Environmental Protection past year did not oppose the drilling plan or ask for Florida to be exempted.

Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke granted such a waiver to Florida on Wednesday. Then there is the price of oil in a few years' time to consider, as well as the fact that companies in the USA are increasingly earmarking investments into onshore shale at the expense of conventional offshore.

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.

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