Rethinking the politics of oil drilling

I wasn’t all that keen on California Democrats’ assertion that Donald J. Trump was punishing their state because its residents voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Then came this bizarre decision by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The secretary decided that the waters off the Florida coast wouldn’t be exposed to offshore drilling for oil. Zinke cited the vast impact on tourism to the state.

Now, I’ll stipulate that Florida voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

The decision has drawn bipartisan scorn along all the nation’s coasts.

Zinke’s decision has governors in other coastal states scratching their heads. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is one of them. Oh, but wait! Oregon voted for Hillary in 2016! The Interior Department has not removed Oregon from the offshore drilling list of states.

Nor has it done so with Washington or California, two other pro-Hillary states along the Pacific Coast.

Gov. Brown said tonight that Oregon’s coast also brings billions of dollars into the state treasury annually from tourism and related activities. Brown noted that Oregon boasts 360 miles of gorgeous coastline. I can vouch for the beauty of the Oregon coast; I grew up in Oregon and spent many days and nights looking at the Pacific Ocean.

She cannot understand why the Trump administration has singled out Florida, removing that state from the roster of coastal states where offshore oil exploration will take place.

Actually, she can understand. Brown and other critics are winking and nodding at the notion that Mar-a-Lago — the president’s posh coastal resort — might be affected by offshore drilling activity.

Hmm. Politics, anyone?

Fairness compels me to mention that there are a number of other pro-Trump coastal states that are facing offshore drilling pressure. Texas is one of them. Same for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. Let’s not forget Alaska.

You travel north from North Carolina and you’ll find all the Atlantic Coast states voted for Hillary. They won’t get any break, either.

Yes, it is fair to ask: Why exempt just Florida?

I’m scratching my head, too.

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