Floridas political leaders have maintained abipartisan consensus in opposition to any drillingplans.
The U.S. Interior Department tweeted on June 10 that a Politico report about plans to jump-start oil exploration off Florida’s coasts was “fake news.”
As much as we would like to believe Interior, we don’t. Not for a second. The president and his administration have demonstrated an unlimited capacity for lying. And the Interior Department is headed by a one-time oil industry lobbyist, David Bernhardt, who’s been happy to carry the energy industry’s water while serving in the federal government.
Besides, and maybe most important, the president has made no secret of his desire to see more oil rigs off the coasts. He wants ’em, bad.
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So, all things considered, we’re more inclined to believe the Politico report, thank you. It detailed administration plans to allow drilling off both the east and west coasts of Florida. It noted that the plans wouldn’t be announced until after the November election because, you know, Trump needs to win Florida, and Floridians hate the idea of oil rigs off their coasts.
We also should pause and note the careful wording of the government’s fake news bluster. It says the Interior Department “does not plan to issue a new report in November.”
OK. What about December, or January, or any of the other 48 months of a second Donald Trump term if the nation decides it wants four more years of chaos?
The feds are hedging because the president has made clear his desire for “energy dominance,” and he’s had his eye on the Gulf Coast since Inauguration Day.
He’s issued a series of orders and proposals since taking office that would open up areas of the Gulf and the Atlantic to exploration and drilling.
So far, at least, Florida politicians have maintained a bipartisan consensus in opposition to oil drilling off the state’s coasts. Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio have made clear they don’t want it. Even Ron DeSantis, the president’s No. 1 fan, has opposed the president’s drilling dreams.
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DeSantis supported a U.S. House measure last year to permanently ban drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast, a measure that won support from 26 of 27 Florida House members (Ted Yoho was the lone holdout). Trump had promised to veto the ban but he needn’t have worried; the bipartisan bill was never given a hearing in Mitch McConnell’s Senate.
Trump’s not about to give up on letting the oil industry go to work off Florida’s coasts, especially if he wins a second term and no longer has any reason to care what Floridians think.
We already know what they think. In 2018, 69% of voters approved a state constitutional ban on drilling in waters controlled by the state (about nine miles off the western and southern coasts and three miles off the eastern coast).
Beyond those limits, it’s up to the feds.
The opposition to…