Bravo to Gov. Scott for opposing more offshore drilling
Rick Scott: When U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made a surprise trip Tuesday to Tallahassee to announce that Florida would be spared from the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling, he gave credit for the apparent policy shift to Florida’s governor. Scott’s political opponents smelled a rat. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat likely to face a challenge for re-election this year from the governor, called Zinke’s announcement “a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott.”
Rather than speculate about political motives, which are a routine element behind most federal policies, we’d prefer to celebrate Florida’s reprieve. Last week the Sunshine State and its environmentally fragile, economically crucial coasts were facing a heightened threat from offshore oil rigs. So was the U.S. military’s air and sea training zone off Florida in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. This week that threat receded.
While leaders from both parties in Florida denounced the administration’s plan, opposition from Scott — a friend and staunch supporter of the president — could very well have been decisive in altering it. That’s why we’ve put the onus on the governor before to protect Florida’s environment and tourism-based economy from misguided Trump administration proposals, and why we were encouraged last week when Scott spoke up.