NJ Politics Digest: Are Winds in Washington Shifting Away From Offshore Oil?

New Jersey officials are ready to go to war—or at least to court—to block Trump administration plans to open areas off the state's coast to oil drilling.

Wind turbines. PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

New Jersey officials are ready to go to war—or at least to court—to block Trump administration plans to open areas off the state’s coast to oil drilling. That’s why Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s comments indicating wind turbines might be the future of offshore energy is attracting so much attention.

Speaking at an offshore wind power conference in Trenton, Zinke said that the Trump administration is preparing plans for a large expansion of offshore wind power in the next five years, according to a report in The Record.

Zinke said that the turbines, and not oil rigs, might be the future of offshore energy production, according to the report.

While the Trump administration has announced plans to expand offshore oil exploration along the East Coast, most states in the area have vehemently opposed the plan. At the conference, Zinke said only the governors of Maine and Georgia support expansion plans.

On Friday, the same day Zinke made his comments, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal threatened to sue the federal government if Florida is exempt from drilling while other states that oppose it are not.

Grewal said his office filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents related to communications between Zinke and Florida Gov. Rick Scott prior to the announcement that Florida would be exempted from offshore drilling.

Grewal said he was investigating whether or not Florida received “special treatment” from Zinke and his department, according to radio station NJ101.5.

Quote of the Day: “We think there’s an enormous opportunity for wind because of our God-given resources off the coast. We’re pretty good at innovating.” — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, indicating Trump administration support for development of offshore wind power.

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