President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday extending a moratorium on offshore drilling off the coast of Florida through 2032 and expanding it to the Atlantic coast. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 8 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order to extend and expand a ban on oil drilling off the coast of Florida.
Speaking at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum in Jupiter, Fla., Trump said he would extend the existing moratorium on offshore oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida's west coast through 2032 and expand it to include the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
"It's an order that does so much for the state of Florida. It's an order that I'm so proud to sign," Trump said. "And this protects your beautiful gulf and your beautiful ocean and it will for a long time to come."
The decision marks a reversal for Trump, who in 2018 announced a five-year drilling plan calling for 19 lease sales offshore Alaska, seven in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and nine in the Atlantic.
Florida's coastline was removed from consideration after then-U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with former Florida Gov. Rick Scott -- who's now serving in the U.S. Senate -- in Tallahassee.
"As Gov, I fought for & secured a commitment from this administration to keep drilling off FL's coasts," Scott wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "After many conversations with [Trump] on the importance of keeping FL's coastlines pristine, I'm glad he's extending the moratorium for another 10 years."
Current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close ally of Trump's, also opposed the offshore drilling plan as part of his campaign platform and on Tuesday hailed the order as "another great win" for Florida's environment.
Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., also praised the order as the right decision to protect the state's coast.
"Drilling off the shores of Florida is a non-starter -- not worth the risk of endangering our environment, fishing, boating or tourism," he said. "We must never tolerate drilling near our beautiful coastline."