At a press event in Jupiter, Florida, President Donald Trump extended a moratorium on offshore drilling in federal waters off Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
Trump’s order extends the drilling moratorium enacted by Congress that was scheduled to lapse in 2022 for ten years, and expands the area covered by the moratorium to include the federal waters off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina as well.
“Who would have thought Trump is the great environmentalist?” said Trump in announcing the moratorium extension on September 8. “And I am, I am.
“This protects your beautiful Gulf and your beautiful ocean, and it will for a long time to come,” Trump said.
Federal, State Officials Pleased
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who at one time placed a hold on a Trump Interior Department nominee over concerns the administration planned to allow oil and gas production off Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts, said in a statement Trump’s drilling ban will protect Florida’s environment and the industries dependent on it.
“In my many conversations with the president and members of his administration, it was clear they were well aware of Florida’s unique and vulnerable coastal character, and that most Floridians are opposed to allowing offshore drilling off of the state’s coasts,” Rubio’s statement said.
Trump acted in recognition of the fact that offshore drilling could harm South Carolina’s tourism industry, said South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in a statement.
“South Carolina is blessed with the most beautiful and pristine beaches, sea islands, and marshes in the nation,” McMaster said. “Seismic testing and offshore drilling threatens their health and jeopardizes the future of our state’s $24 billion tourism industry.”
‘Wrong Approach at the Wrong Time’
Extending the Congress’s moratorium on drilling on the outer-continental shelf off Florida’s coasts and extending the ban to Georgia and South Carolina is a misguided plan that will hurt job creation and national security, said Lem Smith, vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, in a statement issued after Trump’s announcement.
“Extending the moratorium in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and expanding it to the South Atlantic is the wrong approach at the wrong time,” Smith stated. “A ban on responsible energy development in the Eastern Gulf and the South Atlantic puts at risk hundreds of thousands of new jobs, U.S. energy security advancements, and billions of dollars in critical revenue for states.”
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.