It’s easy to forget, in the age of massive Trump rallies and QAnon cops and Rep. Matt Gaetz, that Florida is a purple state. And voters there may not take kindly to the Trump administration reportedly considering plans to auction off areas of the state’s Gulf Coast waters to the oil and gas industry for drilling, a deeply unpopular move both Republicans and Democrats in the state have opposed for years.
According to Politico’s reporting today on those potential plans, which are apparently in the works at Trump’s Interior Department but not yet finalized:
An industry lobbying offensive has put it on the cusp of achieving its holy grail: access to the resource-rich eastern Gulf of Mexico. The idea is so politically toxic in Florida that past presidents haven’t even entertained it. But behind the scenes, oil and gas interests are appealing to Trump’s desire to turbocharge U.S. energy production, including his past openness to drilling off the Florida coast.
The president and his top advisers haven’t yet weighed in on the plan taking shape inside his Interior Department. But giving it the green light would be tantamount to a declaration of war on his second home state, given the uniform opposition from Florida Republicans, including prominent allies like Sen. Rick Scott, Gov. Ron DeSantis and others.
“He would have a price to pay for that,” Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), a staunch Trump supporter, told POLITICO.
The site goes on to note that Scott, DeSantis, and many more Trump allies—who are hardly friends of environmentalist causes—are firmly opposed to drilling off the state’s shores. The specter hanging over it all is the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, which affected Florida but also absolutely devastated other states’ portions of the Gulf Coast. The question now is whether or not Scott, DeSantis and co. would sell out their constituents—Politico notes the state polls at 64 percent against offshore drilling—in the name of keeping Trump happy during a presidential election year.
Bizarrely, the last time Trump floated this plan, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had to furiously do damage control, assuring Florida that its coastline would be taken out of consideration for new drilling projects. It would also be an odd move for Trump on a personal level, as he’s called Mar-a-Lago, his club off the Atlantic in Palm Beach, his “Winter White House.” That said, it’s possible the president may have finally found the one hole Florida’s lunatic Republican leadership may be unwilling to dig.