OR governor says Zinke considering exempting state from offshore drilling plan

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"Florida is obviously unique", Zinke said.

Kate Brown's (D) office said Friday that Interior Secretary Zinke is considering exempting her state from the Trump administration's proposed offshore drilling plan.

The governors of Delaware, North Carolina, and SC on Tuesday were seeking meetings with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to press their case that drilling would pose significant risks to coastal tourism, while other state representatives issued sharply-worded Tweets. Providing all of our states with the same exemption from unsafe offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm's way. Instead of focusing on short-term benefits for oil and gas companies, our country should be looking toward a clean energy future.

The letter from the state delegation said the coastal tourism industry generates $44 billion and supports about 10 percent of the total state workforce. Additionally, commercial fishing is a major economic driver along the coast, supporting more than $500 million in personal income in Oregon.

The phone call came days after Zinke agreed to exempt Florida from a new Trump administration proposal to expand oil and gas drilling off most of the US coastline.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., sent a letter to Zinke that was signed by the entire bipartisan Congressional delegation in New Jersey asking him to visit the state. The request follows Secretary Zinke's announcement that Florida will be exempted from the plan.

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"The Trump administration, through their decision on Florida, has admitted that offshore drilling is a threat to coastal economies and tourism", Cooper said in a statement.

The Trump administration's announcement that as of 2019, it would allow drilling for oil and gas in 47 leased sites off the US coast - including six sites off California - produced howls of outrage.

The Interior Department said earlier in the day that Zinke had set up calls with the governors of Rhode Island, Oregon, California, Washington, Delaware and North Carolina to get their input.

The Defense Department has also raised concerns about opening drilling that had been banned off the eastern Gulf of Mexico, where military exercises are held. Irma's landfall in Florida shortly afterward upended the national energy sector because the state has no refineries and other markets had to work overtime to make up the difference.

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