April 16, 2018 Read More →

Bipartisan Resistance Among Governors and Members of Congress to Zinke, Trump Drilling Plans

PRI:

After the Trump administration announced plans to expand offshore oil and gas drilling to nearly the entire U.S. coastline, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke quickly followed up with another announcement exempting Florida from the new plans.

Now, a growing number of Republican and Democratic governors and legislators from coastal states are demanding the same exemption.

Republican Nancy Mace, a South Carolina State representative for parts of Charleston County and the Lowcountry, says she campaigned for Donald Trump but believes oil rigs off of South Carolina’s beaches would be a disaster.

“We have a $20 billion tourism industry that employs 600,000 people annually,” Mace says. “People don’t come to Charleston or anywhere along the coast to…see oil drilling. They come for our beautiful beaches. As the governor [Henry McMaster] said, ‘These are shores lined with gold.’ They’re absolutely stunning. We have beautiful live oak trees, good people, good food and that’s why people come down here. Not to see offshore oil drilling.”

What’s more, Mace says, this is a states’ rights issue. When Zinke gave Florida a “hall pass and allowed them to opt out of this federal issue, that opened the door to states’ rights,” she says. “But now [the U.S.] is exporting, so I don’t see at the federal level that great a need right now to try and find more oil out there, particularly along the coast of South Carolina. I don’t see the need.”

More: Coastal Republicans Oppose The New ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’

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