Florida Wins Exemption for Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

Audrey Leggett, Reporter

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The decision for Florida to be exempted from what Oil Price called “the most aggressive offshore drilling plan in history” was announced on Jan. 9th by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. In an effort to broaden energy exploration and create jobs, the plan will permit offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic regions. In one article written by The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi says that this controversial draft program is not a done deal as many Atlantic-coast governors are fearful that it will cause numerous environmental hazards that could potentially pulverize fragile ecosystems. Fortunately, after an important meeting with Florida Governor Rick Scott in the state capital Zinke has since said that the Sunshine State will not be considered as an oil and gas drilling site.

The Trump administration has not rejected the rest of the plan, however, as the agenda to start selling to opponents and recognizing supporters should still be successful over the next 18 months. Yet, the groundbreaking decision to exclude Florida from the new five-year drilling plan may have created a slight delay in the process as well as resistance from many Florida lawmakers. According to Bloomberg Politics, continual opposition of the plan is increasing at a steady rate; 140 municipalities situated on the East Coast have already formed an alliance to oppose oil drilling in Atlantic regions. The eastern Gulf Coast is expected to hail the most profit from the drilling plan as it is in proximity to oil pipelines and facilities. This area is one of the main objectives of the Trump administration’s desire to harvest oil and resume the lead as an economic superpower.

The clear resistance of many Florida public officials to participate in the offshore drilling project is engendered partly because of their concern over the damage it will reek on the tourism industry, a top priority since the early mid-1900’s. Tourism in Florida contributes immense profit to the thriving economy of the state as the white-sand beaches and resorts that cover the peninsula are the chief attractions for foreigners. This simple fact was most likely a major reason why Florida was exempted from the drilling plan, as well as trying to conserve marine life habitats and endangered species.

Senior Sandy Dominguez said, “The plan would certainly be destructive to the wildlife that lives in the Gulf coast.” The Wilderness Society has said that offshore oil spills affect animals through direct contact as they are known to ingest large quantities of the toxic substance. This in turn causes severe damage to animals’ organs and suppresses their immune system. Senior Gabriel Martinez agreed, adding, “Not only would the project be unnecessarily expensive, but it would be putting a lot of animals’ lives in danger.”

Yet, withstanding all these hazardous consequences imposed by the drilling project, the Trump Administration continues to pursue this goal.

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