The Trump administration is preparing to open the door to oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coast — but will wait until after the November election to avoid blowback in a swing state whose waters both parties have long considered sacrosanct, according to four people familiar with the plan.
Drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would fulfill a long-sought goal of energy companies, giving them access to potentially billions of barrels of oil that have been off-limits since the federal government withdrew leases it had sold in 1985.
But even the possibility of drilling is a politically explosive topic for Floridians, who worry that oil spills would devastate their tourism-based economy in a reprise of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Before joining the Trump administration, Interior Sec. David Bernhardt was a lobbyist for Haliburton, Cobalt Energy, the Independent Petroleum Association, and similarly dastardly outfits.