President Trump’s plan to open up more than 90 percent of U.S. continental shelf to offshore drilling is being opposed by the governors of all coastal states except Maine.
The proposed drilling areas in Trump’s “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” include protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, “where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors from [New Hampshire] to Florida, nearly a dozen attorneys general, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers and the Department of Defense,” the Washington Post reported.
Many state governors have spoken out publicly since Trump’s announcement last week.
“Protecting our environment and precious natural resources is a top priority …” said a spokesman for Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan (R).
Hogan has directed his attorney general “to take any legal action necessary against the federal government to prevent this possible exploration.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had already stated that he “strongly opposes any waters off our coastline being considered for inclusion in this leasing program.” New Jersey Governor Elect Phil Murphy said the plan was like “dropping a ticking time bomb off our coast.”
“Of course I oppose drilling off of New Hampshire’s coastline,’’ Republican Governor Chris Sununu told the Associated Press.
“I can sum it up in four words: Not off our coast,” North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper said.
Republican Governor of Florida Rick Scott was quick to speak out too:
“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 said in a statement.
In a statement Thursday, the Democratic governors of California, Oregon and Washington pledged to do “whatever it takes” to stop Trump’s move, calling it “reckless and shortsighted.”
California, where six of the proposed lease sales are located, likely to be at the forefront of the fight. No new drilling has been approved there for 30 years.
“There are two things working against the Trump administration’s proposal to open up California coastal waters to new oil and gas drilling: state regulators and simple economics,” said the LA Times.
“I don’t think there’s any reasonable chance that there will be any leasing or drilling along the coast, Ralph Faust, former general counsel for the California Coastal Commission, said,