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Politics

Weekly Roundup: Drill, Baby, Drill (Elsewhere)

January 5, 2018 - 4:45pm

Bipartisanship is hard to come by these days.

But President Donald Trump found a way to bring together Florida Republicans and Democrats this week when his administration proposed allowing offshore oil and gas drilling in areas of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that have been off-limits.

The proposal drew howls of protest from Republican and Democratic leaders in Florida, where offshore drilling is something of a third-rail political issue.

Meanwhile, the race to replace Gov. Rick Scott got a little more interesting Friday, when Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis formally entered the race. DeSantis' announcement wasn't a surprise, but the GOP primary is looking more and more like a big-money slugfest.

OIL RIGS AND TOURIST-FILLED BEACHES

If Scott challenges U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in this year's election, it will be a nasty race. That much is almost assured.

But Scott and Nelson rushed Thursday to criticize the Trump administration's announcement that nearly all of the nation's outer continental shelf --- a jurisdictional term describing submerged lands 10.36 statutory miles off Florida's west coast and 3 nautical miles off the east coast --- will be considered for drilling.

“Based on media reports, it is likely that the Department of the Interior will consider Florida as a potential state for offshore oil drilling --- which is something I oppose in Florida,” Scott said in a prepared statement shortly before Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke unveiled the drilling proposal. “I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration.”

Nelson described the plan as “an assault on Florida's economy, our national security, the will of the public and the environment.”

“This proposal defies all common sense, and I will do everything I can to defeat it,” he said.

Pointing to the state's all-important tourism industry and fears of oil washing up on beaches, Florida politicians have long railed against the idea of expanded offshore drilling. Drilling opponents raised the specter Thursday of a Deepwater Horizon-type disaster.

“As the state with the longest coastlines in the continental United States, Florida is especially vulnerable to oil spills,” U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said. “Have we forgotten so soon the devastating damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010?”

But David Mica, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council, said the Trump administration proposal would benefit consumers and the economy.

“Allowing us to explore our offshore energy will boost our state economy and spur investment --- all while safely coexisting with our agriculture, tourism and fishing industries as well as U.S. military operations,” Mica said in a statement. “The administration has recognized that the ability to access our abundant offshore resources in a safe and environmentally responsible way will help our nation meet our energy needs well into the future.”

GETTING READY TO RUMBLE

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has long looked like the front-runner in this year's race to replace Scott. Putnam has been elected statewide twice, can raise piles of cash and knows how the levers of power work in Tallahassee.

But DeSantis' formal entrance into the race Friday sets up a battle for the Republican nomination --- a battle that could grow more intense if House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, gets in the race.

DeSantis has been publicly praised by Trump and has lined up some heavy hitters as financial supporters, including Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.

DeSantis, of Palm Coast, has served in Congress since 2013 and is a former Navy lawyer who received a history degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

“As somebody who is a military officer, an Iraq veteran, a proven conservative, and then with the support of the president, I'm in a position to exercise the leadership that can build on the great work that Gov. Rick Scott has done to advance economic opportunity, reform education and to drain the swamp in Tallahassee, which needs to be drained just like Washington,” DeSantis said during an appearance Friday on the Fox News show “Fox & Friends.”

But the Putnam campaign immediately went on the attack.

"Floridians need a Florida first conservative like Adam Putnam to serve them as their next governor, not a Washington D.C. insider,” Putnam spokeswoman Amanda Bevis said in a statement. “In true Washington insider fashion, Congressman Ron DeSantis announced his latest campaign from an empty TV studio to broadcasters in New York. DeSantis is a typical Washington politician who is focused on nothing more than his next promotion.”

Comments

Deepwater Horizon...

Drill baby drill! The offshore drilling is much better than it used to be! Safer, with less chance of oil spills!

Drilling is important to our energy independence but we have a serious need for refineries. Can't run cars with crude oil or coal, Need refineries strategically built across America to insure our energy needs are domestic.

What planet is this guy on. He needs his head examined But David Mica, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council, said the Trump administration proposal would benefit consumers and the economy. “Allowing us to explore our offshore energy will boost our state economy and spur investment --- all while safely coexisting with our agriculture, tourism and fishing industries as well as U.S. military operations

Former Secretary of State Seward bought Alaska specifically from Russia, to gain Alaska's natural resources for America....and you NOW have additional "pipeline" sources to harvest that oil for continental America's consumption (instead of America continuing to be "held captive" by OPEC. Your whining "Glen Gibellina" is "whistling into the wind" on behalf of the "Florida Petroleum Council" (Are YOU an employee??), and other "Special Interest groups" and greedy politicians in D.C. and Tallahassee. It is YOU "my friend" who are "a visitor from another planet" !

As far as Secretaries of State go,... William Seward was CERTAINLY the antithesis of "crooked Hillary" Clinton who "sold" America (in so many ways) for her own monetary enrichment and self-aggrandisement ... from renting the White House "Lincoln Bedroom" to Chinese spies (one of which is STILL in prison), all the way up Hillary's "crooked road" to the sale of "yellow cake uranium" to the Russians (and this is without even mentioning her 'faux pas' before she even "left Arkansas burning"). Will "Liberal Democrats" NEVER learn?!?!?

Thanks for the reminder, what were we thinking?

As Alaskan Senator Murkowski says, "DO IT IN ALASKA !" (the place that was purchased for America for JUST THAT "natural resource" reason...) , and leave the warm water "continental shelf" alone... UNTIL WE ACTUALLY NEED IT !!!!! America, does NOT need to become a major oil "salesman to the world", at this time in our economic resurgence. INSTEAD, try creating a balanced, line-item, BUDGET (for a change) and eliminating the bloated waste & duplication in Washington, DC (where "nothing is sacred" to politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, lobbys, and "Special interests")!!!

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