Florida’s coastal waters are safe from any future offshore oil and gas development, President Donald Trump boasted in an interview with Spectrum News last week.
“We’re not gonna be drilling, and I’ve already put out that order ― actually quite a while ago,” he said when asked if he could commit to not drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. “We can’t do that. And the people of Florida just don’t want it. You know, there are some states that don’t mind it, but Florida does. And I live here too, and I vote here. And I will tell you, that’s not going to be happening.”
Aside from the hypocrisy of proposing to open nearly all U.S. waters to fossil fuel development while declaring “not in my backyard” for Florida, the “order” Trump claims to have put out appears to be a figment of his imagination.
Trump has issued no such order, but it’s not the first time he’s touted a seemingly nonexistent decree.
The White House sent an off-the-record comment in response to questions about the purported offshore directive. The official did not include anything HuffPost could actually use in this article.
A spokesman for the Interior Department, the agency that oversees offshore oil and gas development, told HuffPost via email that “the President’s remarks speak for itself” and declined to answer any questions or direct HuffPost to where it might find said order.
Trump appears to be taking credit for former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement in January 2018 that, on the recommendation of then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) — whom he called a “straightforward leader that can be trusted” — he was taking Florida “off the table for offshore oil and gas.” Many saw the decision as a political favor for Scott, a vocal Trump ally, ahead of his run for Senate. The director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management later told Congress that “the secretary’s statement stands on its own” and was “not a formal...