The U.S. President, Donald Trump on Tuesday announced an expanded ban on offshore oil development near the coasts of Florida and the southeast U.S. as he made a case for his environmental record in the must-win Sunshine State.
President Trump said that he was issuing an order to extend a moratorium on offshore drilling on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and expanding it to the state’s Atlantic coast as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
Trump said in a speech in Jupiter, Florida “this protects your beautiful Gulf and your beautiful ocean, and it will for a long time to come,”.
He also touted other environmental accomplishments and praised America’s “crystal-clean” air and water. He highlighted efforts to protect the Florida Everglades and stem harmful algal blooms known as the red tide that can unleash toxins into the air and cause respiratory illnesses to nearby communities. He also celebrated his State of the Union promise to plant a trillion trees by 2030 to help combat climate change.
Trump’s appeal comes as he woos voters in Florida, a winner-take-all state that has 29 votes in the electoral college and is key to deciding presidential contests. Trump’s environmental record — and scepticism of climate change — is also a detriment in the state.
According to an NBC News/Marist poll released Tuesday, Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden both have 48% support in the state among likely voters. Among registered voters, Trump leads Biden 48% to 47%. Four years ago, Trump won Florida by slightly more than 1 percentage point.
Even before the president started speaking Tuesday afternoon, he drew criticism from conservationists as well as Biden, who said Trump’s environmental record is nothing to crow about.