Drilling For Favoritism Florida Exempt From New Rules
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke grandly announced a week ago that forcing coastal states to accommodate offshore oil and gas drilling would help the Trump administration meet its goal of American energy dominance rather than mere independence. Apparently, the administration doesn’t need Florida to achieve that dominance. A few days after authorizing offshore drilling just about everywhere, the administration suddenly exempted Florida. Zinke said the administration acquiesced to a request from Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott. “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said. Florida’s tourism industry is worth about $20 billion. But does Zinke really believe that all states with significant coastlines don’t benefit from the tourism that they produce? Southern California? Maine? New Jersey? South Carolina? This a case of special pleading at its worst, exacerbated by the fact that President Trump owns substantial beachfront resort property in Florida. The administration should rescind the rule or make it universal to eliminate the specter of conflicts of interest and undue political influence.