In the first week of January, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that the Trump administration was discarding decades of restrictions on offshore drilling, opening America to the joys of tar-covered beaches and oil-soaked wildlife. State and local officials on both coasts immediately protested, but a week later, just one state got a miracle reprieve.
The Trump administration said Tuesday it would not allow oil drilling off the coast of Florida, abruptly reversing course under pressure from Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Why did Florida get an out? The initial excuse from Zinke was that it was done because Rick Scott asked to be left out. When other states made the same request, they were immediately granted … nothing. With a rising tide of anger, Zinke shifted his excuse to Florida needing tourists for its beaches made it “unique”—a claim that was quickly shouted down by other states.
But now Zinke is back with an all-new, all totally believable excuse for why it’s okay to blacken every beach in America … except for the ones next to Mar-a-Lago.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke defended his surprise decision to exempt Florida waters from the Trump administration's push for new offshore drilling, saying in an exclusive interview with CNN that the state's coastline is unique.
"The coastal currents are different, the layout of where the geology is," Zinke said Sunday.
The geology is Florida is … everywhere. So is the geology everywhere else. The Florida current is famous, but it also runs past several other states. There’s no point trying to twist Zinke’s statement into something more specific to oil-bearing strata, or looking for something special about drilling off the “Sunshine State,” because there’s no way to make this statement anything but he latest in a line of obvious lies.
The only interesting thing at all is that Zinke is feeling enough pressure to lie—when he’s been so destructive in other ways without so much as a shrug.
The opposition to opening more areas to drilling off of states where large amounts of drilling is not already underway, is all but universal.
In announcing his decision, Zinke said that “Florida is clearly unique” and mentioned its recreation-centered coast.
Indeed, tourism is massive in Florida. Visitors to the state spent $111.7 billion there in 2016, according to the state’s tourism marketing corporation, Visit Florida, accounting for about 12 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.
But tourism makes up about 11 percent of the economy of neighboring Georgia, 10 percent of the economies of South Carolina and Maine and nearly 7 percent of the economy of New Jersey.
Even taking Florida off the board has been disappointing to oil and gas companies—who are upset that their good pal Zinke took even a single hor d'oeuvres off the table.
With the Trump administration’s hard push for increased fossil fuel production, it may come as little surprise that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would address the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry trade group.
… the speech was held at Trump International Hotel in Washington, which has been at the center of conflict-of-interest concerns.
It’s also surprising to hear Zinke mentioning “currents” and “geology” in his excuses, since he’s not keen on the whole idea of science. He also didn’t feel any need to produce excuses when he called for opening national parks and monuments to “traditional uses” … like mining and logging.
Maybe he can find a way to blame the inconsistencies on his disloyal underlings.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday that nearly one-third of employees at his department are not loyal to him and President Donald Trump, adding that he is working to change the department’s regulatory culture to be more business friendly.
Assuming that in describing the currents off Florida, Zinke means the Florida current, that is a strong current that moves from the Gulf into the Atlantic, feeding warm waters into the Gulf Stream. The current moves off the coast of Florida, crosses through the Keys, and moves north past Georgia and the Carolinas. What Zinke means about Florida’s geology … is impossible to discern.
But the fact that Zinke is still talking about this topic, and still thinking up new lies, suggests that he’s feeling the pressure from other states.