The Trump administration appears to be breathing fresh life a hoary old adage: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Within days after announcing plans to open practically every square inch of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas development, an exemption was granted to Florida, a state where President Donald Trump has extensive real estate holdings, including his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago club. Now comes word that Montana, the scenic home turf of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, won’t be part of an upcoming auction of oil and gas drilling sites after all.
Zinke, in a statement issued after this week’s surprise announcement, said, “I’ve always said there are places where it is appropriate to develop and where it’s not.” Memo to the secretary: California is one of the places that isn’t. And residents and elected officials in Pacific and Atlantic states have objected to plans to open their coastlines to offshore drilling. But they haven’t gotten the same quick response as Florida or the extra consideration being given to Montana. Thumbs down.