Friday, January 12, 2018

Not on My Beach You Don't

Last week, President Trump and the Department of the Interior proposed the largest ever expansion of off-shore oil and natural gas drilling rights, effecting every coastal state in the continental U.S. The initial plan exempted only Alaska’s Bristol Bay (protected by former President George W. Bush) and existing marine sanctuaries. President Trump claims the plan is necessary to achieve energy independence, but the plan was met with opposition from environmental groups which deemed it a potential environmental disaster and a give-away to the fossil-fuel industry.

Fortunately, the Department of the Interior has granted an exemption for the state of Florida, at the request of Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott. The Interior justified this action by saying Florida is unique and relies on the tourism industry. Now, I live in California, and I seem to remember that we have beaches and a tourism industry here as well. In fact, I'm just guessing here, but I would think that every coastal state has beaches and something of a tourism industry based on access to beaches and the ocean.

Still, there must some reason that Florida is conspicuously excluded from the plan. There must be something that makes Florida more unique than every other state affected by this. Let me think, Rick Scott is contemplating running for the U.S. Senate. This definitely is not going to hurt him in a potential Senate bid at a time when Republicans may be scrambling to maintain control of Congress.

But what else makes Florida unique. Doesn't President Trump have a house in Florida or something? Wait, it's not a house. It's a resort, Mar-a-Lago. Funny, that the Trump administration wants to exempt the one state where the president owns a beach-front resort. This reminds of something else. Before the election, I read the Wikipedia page on Donald Trump. Yes, I know it is not the best source of information, but it is where I usually go. 

In addition to learning of his multiple bankruptcies, his use of illegal immigrant labor in building of Trump Tower, and how in the 1970s, he and his father were accused by the Justice Department of systematically discriminating against African-American who wanted to rent apartments, something else jumped out at me. Donald Trump had previously sued the government of Scotland because the turbines from a windfarm he claims spoiled the view from one of his golf courses. Trump lost this suit.

President Trump is all for energy independence, provided it doesn't affect his political or personal business interests. God forbid that the president or guests at his tremendously expensive resort might have to have their view sullied by an off-shore drilling rig or risk a spill on his pristine beaches. Yet, the rest of the country doesn't get afforded this courtesy. It makes me wonder how Robert Mueller and his FBI investigation are coming. Any chance he could pick up the pace? As much as the thought of a Mike Pence presidency scares me, it's looking better every day.

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