By MATTHEW DALY
WASHINGTON (AP) – Opposition to the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore drilling is mounting as Democrats from coastal states accuse President Donald Trump of punishing states with Democratic leaders and a second Republican governor asks to withdraw his state from the plan.
Democrats said Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke were being hypocritical by agreeing to a request by Florida’s Republican governor to withdraw from the drilling plan, but not making the same accommodation to states with Democratic governors.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said on Twitter that his state, “like Florida, has hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline and a governor who wants to keep it that way. Or is that not enough for blue states?”
“If local voices matter why haven’t they excluded Virginia?” asked Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. “Is it because the governor of Florida is a Republican and the Virginia governor is a Democrat?”
The complaints came as South Carolina’s Republican governor said Wednesday he is seeking an exemption from the proposed drilling expansion, a move that will test the relationship between Trump and one of his earliest supporters.
Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters that risks associated with drilling pose a serious threat to South Carolina’s lush coastline and $20 billion tourism industry.
“We cannot afford to take a chance with the beauty, the majesty and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline in South Carolina,” McMaster said.
Opposition to drilling is bipartisan within South Carolina’s congressional delegation: All three House members who represent the state’s 190 miles of coastline told The Associated Press they are against the expansion plan. Two of the three are Republicans, including Rep. Mark Sanford, a former governor who said Zinke had set a precedent by honoring Florida’s request for an exemption.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Sanford said, adding that Republicans should respect local wishes.
In Virginia, GOP Rep. Scott Taylor joined Kaine and Gov.-elect Ralph Northam in opposing the drilling plan. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., called Trump’s plan “a complete non-starter.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said on Twitter that “the only science @SecretaryZinke follows is…