Environment Escambia County Politics

Gaetz: Soup not ‘fully cooked’ on offshore drilling [podcast]

January 9, 2018

On Jan. 4, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke that the White House plans to allow offshore drilling for crude oil and natural gas off the coast of Florida. The decision has been widely condemned by Republicans, Democrats and all other Floridians. Congressman Matt Gaetz called the plan “seriously flawed” but yesterday said on “Pensacola Speaks” said he had indications that the decision wasn’t final.

“We’ve gotten word from interior based on the very strong unified reaction of the Florida delegation and Governor Scott that there is going to be an ability to revise this, that the soup is not fully cooked, that they understand there will have to be accommodations here or there,” said Gaetz.

“I’ve talked to the president about this,” he continued. “He said that he’d work with us on it. I think he by virtue of his visits to the area, understanding the community, he gets it. I was able to point out as we were on Air Force One the uniqueness of our coastline and how we really were able to fit a tourism economy right in with a military economy and there’s great synergy there. I am hopeful that my personal relationship with the president will yield favorable results in stopping drilling.”

Gaetz also said the Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole memo has already had an impact on the medical marijuana industry.

“Since the Attorney General repealed the Cole Memo, which provided a safe harbor for medical marijuana companies operating legally in their states, banks have started shutting down the accounts of medical marijuana dispensaries,” he shared. “We are this week working to get Secretary Mnuchin to send a letter from the Department of Treasury to banks saying, ‘You can continue to take deposits while we sort through what this means,’ because the last thing you want to do to a vulnerable, fragile patient is disrupt their medicinal treatment that’s working.”

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