•   
  •   
  •   

US Interior secretary gets strong GOP resistance to drilling plan, starts backing off

05:00  08 march  2018
05:00  08 march  2018 Source:   latimes.com

Oklahoma regulator issues new regional protocol to curb earthquakes

  Oklahoma regulator issues new regional protocol to curb earthquakes Oklahoma's oil and gas regulator on Tuesday released new requirements aimed at reducing the risk of earthquakes from hydraulic fracturing in shale regions in central and southern areas of the state.The new protocol, issued by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), comes in addition to existing rules that apply to a 15,000 square mile area targeted by the regulator for its high rate of temblors from wastewater injection.

Interior Secretary gets strong GOP resistance to drilling plan , starts backing off . In a meeting with affected coastal GOP representatives last week, Zinke reaffirmed an exemption from the drilling for Florida, hinted to New Jersey officials their state was likely to be spared and left a Virginia

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke acknowledges there is “a lot of opposition” to President Donald Trump’s plan to open most of the nation’s coastline to oil and gas drilling . But he noted strong opposition to the drilling plan , adding there is little to no infrastructure in many of those areas to support drilling .

Ryan Zinke wearing a suit and tie: U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listens during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 20, 2017. © Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Abaca Press/TNS U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listens during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 20, 2017.

WASHINGTON - Facing mounting pressure from fellow Republicans who see little constituent support for drilling off the Atlantic Coast, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke could be backpedaling on the Trump administration's initial plans to expand the program, GOP lawmakers told McClatchy.

In a meeting with affected coastal GOP representatives last week, Zinke reaffirmed an exemption from the drilling for Florida, hinted to New Jersey officials their state was likely to be spared and left a Virginia congressman optimistic the policy would be overturned for his state, too. And Zinke said he'd travel to South Carolina to get a better sense of that state's concerns as well.

Papers: Access to resources fueled monument reviews

  Papers: Access to resources fueled monument reviews Access to fossil fuels and other natural resources played an early role in a Trump administration review that resulted in size reductions at two Utah national monuments, according to internal documents released following a public records lawsuit.Interior Department officials focused on how much oil and gas, coal, grazing lands and timber had been placed off-limits when the monuments were created, the documents show.President Donald Trump in December ordered drastic reductions to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments following a months-long review.He said they were part of a "massive federalInterior Department officials focused on how much oil and gas, coal, grazing lands and timber had been placed off-limits when the mon

But he noted strong opposition to the drilling plan , adding there is little to no infrastructure in many of those areas Zinke said oil and gas production seems to be moving to waters off Latin America where regulations While the secretary was far from waving the white flag on the drilling proposal, elected

The secretary ’s role in any formal group is to be guardian of the process of meetings. Get to the venue early and check that everything is OK. Recap and summarise the discussion. This is particularly helpful when people are starting to make the same points again.

If Zinke carves out exceptions for all these states, the idea of cross-Atlantic oil drilling basis could be dead.

The new policy had seemed clear in early January, when Zinke, at the White House's behest, said he would expand drilling all along the Atlantic. Then he gave an exemption to Florida, and other states - many of which have Republican-dominated congressional delegations - began demanding similar treatment.

Seeking to clean up a bureaucratic mess, Zinke has since been visiting Capitol Hill and speaking with governors who want carve-outs. After a Feb. 27 meeting Zinke convened on Capitol Hill with East Coast Republican representatives, Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said her boss was "happy to meet with coastal representatives to discuss the offshore plan."

Interior spending $139K to fix doors in Sec. Zinke's office

  Interior spending $139K to fix doors in Sec. Zinke's office The Interior Department is spending nearly $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in the office of Secretary Ryan Zinke.Zinke was not aware of the contract for the work prior to a request about it from The Associated Press, spokeswoman Heather Swift said. The project was planned by career facilities and security officials as part of the decade-long modernization of the historic building erected in 1938 a few blocks from the White House, she said."The secretary was not aware of this contract but agrees that this is a lot of money for demo, install, materials and labor," Swift said Thursday in an emailed statement.

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday walked back previous statements about the Trump administration’s offshore drilling plans , indicating Florida’s coastal waters are in fact still on the table. The comment came at an offshore wind energy forum in Plainsboro, New Jersey

As a former fossil fuels lobbyist who now leads the Interior Department, David Bernhardt has oversight of the industry he used to represent.

But Zinke is leaving confusion in his wake.

Lawmakers from Florida emerged from that recent meeting convinced they were still going to get their exemption, citing a united delegation and a longstanding federal moratorium on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

New Jersey Republicans said Zinke, a former Montana congressman, strongly implied their coast would be spared, too, because some studies suggested drilling there would not yield much oil.

Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., said he was confident his state would get an exemption because of tourism and the Navy's concerns about drilling near a military base.

And Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., said he was encouraged both by Zinke's promise to visit the South Carolina coast and his indication "to me that strong resistance (inside the state) will certainly be taken into account."

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., another coastal representative and drilling opponent, said every Republican at the Feb. 27 meeting expressed similar sentiments.

Al Gore and Gov. Cuomo blast Trump's offshore drilling plan

  Al Gore and Gov. Cuomo blast Trump's offshore drilling plan ALBANY, N.Y. — Former Vice President Al Gore and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are denouncing the Trump administration's proposal to open up new areas to offshore drilling.The two Democrats spoke Friday in New York City at an event focused on the proposal. Cuomo also announced that the state would formally request that New York be excluded from any federal move to expand offshore drilling.Gore said it makes no sense to drill for more oil and gas at a time when energy from renewable sources is taking off and creating new jobs. He added that expanded drilling would set back efforts to combat climate change.

Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Bernhardt had long been considered a shoo-in for secretary . But in announcing Zinke’s exit, Trump didn’t say the Cynthia Lummis Cynthia Marie Lummis Cynthia Lummis wins GOP Senate primary in Wyoming Chamber of Commerce endorses

The Senate is getting an early start on the president-elect’s choices for several top jobs in his administration. The selection of Zinke for the Interior post came as a surprise and a bit of a setback for Senate Jon Tester and help the GOP snatch that seat from a moderate, if vulnerable, Democrat.

"There was a fairly consistent refrain with regard to hypothetical environmental impacts, tourism impacts and 'wait a minute, our coast is unique too,'" Sanford recalled.

In other words, every state that wants an exemption is arguing its circumstances are special, but they all share similarities that would make it difficult for Zinke to pull out of one locality but not another and still maintain credibility.

Zinke even said at a recent meeting with Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C., and local officials and community leaders, that none of the coastal communities up and down the east coast currently have the necessary infrastructure to support offshore drilling in the first place, according to Tom Kies, president of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce, who was present.

Zinke plans to visit North Carolina's coast soon, too.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the House Natural Resources Committee chairman who attended the Feb 27 meeting, said his colleagues were jumping to conclusions. He said Zinke made no promises to anybody and appeared on track to continue implementing the administration's drilling agenda as intended.

In Decline, Offshore Drillers Find a Champion in the Trump Administration

  In Decline, Offshore Drillers Find a Champion in the Trump Administration Oil companies seek to gain from a rollback of safety and environmental rules that were adopted after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To prevent accidents, another provision required oil and gas platforms to shutdown temporarily when so-called lift boats positioned themselves for repair work.At a meeting Mr. Angelle called in September, industry officials detailed their objections while members of staff — some of whom helped write the rule — sat taking notes. Separately, Mr.

Ryan Zinke. Secretary of interior . Zinke has a track record as an ardent supporter of conservation within the GOP and has fought efforts by fellow Republicans to sell off public lands. Drilling on public lands: The interior department oversees public lands in the US and, in particular, the permit process

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listens during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Dec. “So there has been no formal action to remove Florida from the offshore drilling plan as of right now Cruickshank replied that options for and the impacts of drilling off of the Florida coast will be

"I don't think Zinke made a final commitment to anybody," Bishop said. "Until you see something in black and white, almost everyone hears what they want to hear. Until you see it written down, nothing is finalized."

The administration has also gone through a painstaking process to make clear Florida wouldn't get its official exemption until the end of the Interior Department's review process. The public comment period will end Friday, with the administration presenting a final decision later.

Stressing that process is likely to cool expectations and please powerful lobbyists who want all states to allow drilling.

To Taylor, Zinke is just trying to do his job under difficult circumstances.

"I assume he felt like he had the authority to say, 'Florida has a federal moratorium, they have a united delegation, I'm going to go ahead and exempt them,' and maybe he got some pushback from the president for doing that," Taylor said. "I don't know the answer to that specifically, but that's what it seems like."

Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said Taylor's optimism about Virginia made sense.

Grijalva said Zinke is being directed to help lawmakers, such as Taylor, who face tough election fights. Getting exemptions mean they could take credit for the change if their states get relief from a drilling plan unpopular among their constituents.

There was speculation after the Florida exemption announcement that the decision was made as a favor to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a close Trump ally who is expected challenge to vulnerable Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson.

In addition to Taylor, a slew of retirements from moderate New Jersey Republicans could result in Democrats winning those seats. Another Trump ally, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, also opposes offshore drilling and is facing election this year.

"What you're going to see at the end is some political accommodations," Grijalva told McClatchy. "Nothing was thought out. Nobody was consulted. (The administration) just listened to industry and now they have to backtrack politically to try to protect their vulnerables."

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

HUD emails show pressure to exceed $5,000 cap on Carson's office .
The emails -- obtained by American Oversight -- suggest Carson and his wife had some involvement in the selection of the furnishingsBut new emails released Wednesday show there was persistent pressure from within the agency to find a workaround to spend more than the $5,000 limit under law -- despite repeated emphasis from some inside the agency that the $5,000 limit is set in stone. Under federal law, Congress must be notified of any executive office renovation exceeding $5,000, and that notification must also go through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Topical videos:

usr: 1
This is interesting!