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Published: Mon, January 15, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

New Jersey leaders seek offshore drilling plan exemption

New Jersey leaders seek offshore drilling plan exemption

Cory Booker and Robert Menendez Sunday in urging President Donald Trump's administration to immediately end talk of allowing oil drilling off the Garden State's coastline.

Almost every governor of states on the East and West coasts have demanded to be exempted from the proposal after Zinke granted an exemption to Florida this week over economic and environmental concerns following a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott (R). In addition to Florida, the states of Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Washington have all opposed new leases off their coasts. His drilling plan helps fulfill his campaign pledge.

By contrast, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington told Interior they "strongly oppose any new leasing" off their coasts and asked to be removed from the plan.

"Creating a five-year (drilling) program is a very open and public process, and Secretary Zinke looks forward to meeting with governors and other coastal representatives who want to discuss the draft program", said spokeswoman Heather Swift.

Nelson said that, with the offshore draft lease plan up for public comment, but changing, it was unclear exactly what Zinke's department meant to do offshore. Scott is an ally of President Trump, and the state is also home to Trump's winter resort at Mar-a-Lago.

"I'm not aware of any political favor that that (Florida exemption) would have been part of", Sanders said Thursday. Also discomfiting is the question of how much Trump's ownership of Florida beachfront property factored into the decision.

We write to you today regarding your recent decision to remove Florida from inclusion in the Trump Administration's new proposal to open up the vast majority of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling. In 2016, the tourism industry in OR directly employed almost 110,000 Oregonians and visitors spent over $11 billion in the state. While some lawmakers in those states support offshore drilling, the plan drew immediate opposition from governors up and down the East Coast, including Republican Govs.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington said there is nothing unique about Florida except "there's a Republican governor in trouble running for the Senate".

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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