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After Florida, more states press U.S. for offshore drilling exemptions

From Reuters - January 10, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Governors and other officials from several U.S. coastal states ramped up pressure on the Trump administration on Wednesday to exempt their waters from an offshore drilling plan, hours after the Interior Department granted Floridas request to opt out.

The backlash could complicate President Donald Trumps efforts to expand oil and gas production offshore. A proposed leasing plan unveiled last week aims to open up all U.S. coasts to drillers over the next five years. Alaska and Maine are the only two U.S. states whose governors have expressed support for the plan.

The governors of Delaware, North Carolina, and South Carolina 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.

Tourism and recreation along the Delaware coastline account for billions in economic activity each year, and support tens of thousands of jobs, Governor John Carney of Delaware, a Democrat, said in a Twitter post Wednesday morning.

New York doesnt want drilling off our coast either. Where do we sign up for a waiver @SecretaryZinke? wrote New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat.

An Interior Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the department would address the requests.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had announced late Tuesday that he was removing Florida state waters from the proposed offshore drilling plan at the request of Governor Rick Scott, who argued that drilling poses a threat to Floridas tourism.

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