Being a lackey of the Trump administration proved it’s worth something last night, when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s state would be exempt from a new plan to open nearly all U.S. coastal waters to oil and gas exploration.
Naturally, other states quickly began to wonder: Did their drilling waivers get lost in the mail?
State leaders from California, Oregon, Maryland, and more took to Twitter last night to ask whether they could get in on getting out of the latest installment in the Trump administration’s plan to “unleash” American energy production, which (before the Florida waiver) involved opening some 90 percent of offshore waters to drilling.
Currently, 94 percent of coastal waters are closed to this sort of development, and many coastal residents aren’t exactly happy at the prospect of that changing. They, like the people of Florida, have their coastal economies and environments to think about. While it was mostly Democrats calling Zinke out after last night’s announcement, both Democrats and Republicans have voiced their opposition to the plan.
Sadly, other states might find it more difficult than they’d like to emulate man who doesn’t believe state employees should utter the words climate change Rick Scott. The move was widely interpreted as a political stunt intended to boost Scott’s favorability among the wealthy NIMBY-er crowd or whoever else might be considering voting a governor who thinks drilling in the Everglades is chill into the Senate. As Alexander Kaufman points out over at the Huffington Post, Scott has had plenty of practice flip flopping on key issues to curry favor among progressives during election years.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pointing out hypocrisy. Some state leaders who genuinely care about keeping their coastal waters clean might wind up suing Trump over the new program.
For now, state leaders are flooding real life cowboy Ryan Zinke’s mentions with reminders that everything continues to be embarrassing.