WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - A group of U.S. Senators representing coastal states have informed the Trump administration that they don't want oil and gas drilling off their coasts, and are demanding the same exemption given to Florida recently. Florida was granted a special exemption by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The US Government Tuesday had agreed to give special consideration to ecologically sensitive Florida coast within a week of unveiling a five year plan that would open most of the country's offshore waters to oil and gas drilling.
In a letter sent to Secretary Zinke on Thursday, 22 senators strongly opposed the Trump Administration's offshore drilling plan, saying it is harmful to the environment and public health, and could devastate coastal economies.
'Just like Florida, our states are unique with vibrant coastal economies. Providing all of our states with the same exemption from dangerous offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm's way,' the letter said.
The states, which have opposed new leases off their coasts, are Florida, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Washington.
The exemption given to Florida is seen as a clear indication of the political importance that President Donald Trump attaches to Florida, where he narrowly won the state's 29 electoral votes in the presidential election.
Governor Rick Scott, a popular leader in Florida, is touted as the GOP candidate for Senate election later this year.
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