Trump plans to unleash offshore oil drilling in Florida — after the election
The backwards-facing moves by the Trump administration to boost the unhealthy fossil fuel industry include subsidies, deregulation of environmental protections, and drilling. Lots of drilling. Former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke spent the first weeks of his administration holing up on Trump properties in private meetings and coming up with a wish list of things the fossil fuel giants wanted to get done. Offshore drilling has always been high on their lists, so it was no surprise when the Trump administration and Zinke announced plans to begin offshore drilling like it was going out of style.
Conservatives who would be directly affected by the possible environmental and health fallout began to get stressed out, and politicians in Republican-led areas like Florida and Alaska signaled to the government that with elections on the horizon, drilling in their areas wouldn’t be a good look. So Zinke and Trump relented, very publicly and cravenly exempting Florida from their plans.
Guess what? Politico reports that the Trump administration is revving its engines to open up offshore drilling in Florida right after the November elections. They just want those votes before turning the knife.
According to one source: “Interior officials said they had predicted that the plan would probably come out after the Nov. 3 election but before Trump’s current term ends in January.” Politico reports that this timeline of events was attested to by two other people working in the energy industry.
The silver lining here is that the bad public health policies Florida officials like Gov. Ron DeSantis are pushing in order to delude the public into believing the Sunshine State is immune to COVID-19 might be tempered by a few offshore oil spill disasters. Having beaches filled with oil spills and dead marine animals will likely keep people social distancing at the beach. Some Floridians may not exactly remember the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, but the ecosystems around Florida haven’t forgotten.
Interior Secretary Zinke left amidst charges of misuse of funds for private travel. Unfortunately, Republican voters—even ones in Florida—have a history of voting for the promise of offshore oil trickling gold down upon them.