South Carolina governor calls on Trump admin to remove state from drilling plan

South Carolina governor calls on Trump admin to remove state from drilling plan
© Greg Nash

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is planning to ask the Trump administration to exempt the state from an upcoming expansion of offshore drilling after Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeZinke must change direction and support conservation Energy development will likely land one bird on the Endangered Species list Montana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone MORE announced a similar exemption for Florida.

"We cannot afford to take a chance with the beauty, the majesty and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline,” McMaster told reporters Wednesday, according to The Post and Courier.

The South Carolina governor endorsed President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE during the 2016 presidential campaign and campaigned for Trump during the election.


Last week, Zinke announced a massive expansion of offshore oil and natural gas drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, including areas off the coasts of Maine, California, Florida and Alaska.

But on Tuesday, Zinke announced that he wouldn’t allow offshore drilling in waters near Florida after meeting with Gov. Rick Scott (R) to discuss the governor’s objections to the plan.

 “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” he said in a statement. “As a result of discussion with Gov. Scott's [sic] and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”

Multiple state officials, including California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraIndustry wins big in methane rules rollback Overnight Energy: Watchdog to investigate EPA over Hurricane Harvey | Panel asks GAO to expand probe into sexual harassment in science | States sue over methane rules rollback Some states back plaintiff suing DHS over Haitians' protected status MORE (D) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), called on the Interior chief to remove their states from the plan after Florida was removed.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said Wednesday that Zinke is listening to governors.

“The secretary has said since day one that he is interested in hearing the local voice,” she said. “Gov. Scott requested a meeting the day the plan was released. If other governors would like to request meetings with the secretary, they are absolutely welcome to do so.”