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Florida pols oppose proposed offshore oil drilling; Donald Trump isn’t worried

So much for the “partner in the White House.”

Gov. Rick Scott enjoyed lunch with President Donald Trump on New Year’s Eve, but Scott is finding President Trump’s position on offshore oil drilling hard to digest.

“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.

“I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary 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,” Scott continued.

At Thursday’s White House briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the President wasn’t all that worried about Scott’s opposition to the proposal.

“Our goal certainly isn’t to cross Gov. Scott. We have a great relationship with him. We’re going to continue working with him on a number of issues. Just because we may differ on issues from time to time doesn’t mean we don’t have an incredibly strong relationship. We’ll continue those conversations with him,” Sanders said.

We have reached out to Gov. Scott for comments on this seeming dismissal of his position.

Scott joins his likely opponent in this year’s Senate race, Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, in opposing the expansion of offshore drilling proposed by the Trump White House.

“This plan is an assault on Florida’s economy, our national security, the will of the public and the environment. This proposal defies all common sense and I will do everything I can to defeat it.”

Sen. Marco Rubio also opposes expansion of drilling.

“I have long supported the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which is not slated to expire until 2022, and introduced legislation to extend the moratorium until 2027. As the Department of Interior works to finalize their draft plan, I urge Secretary Zinke to recognize the Florida Congressional delegation’s bipartisan efforts to maintain and extend the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and remove this area for future planning purposes,” Rubio said.

Time is of the essence.

The Washington Examiner reports that Interior Secretary Zinke seeks to roll out a plan starting in 2019 that would allow the most ambitious offshore drilling program ever.

Florida politicians may oppose it. But does the White House care?

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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