Trump drilling reversal may boost coastal GOP senators

Columbia, SC – With a setback, President Donald Trump’s abrupt reversal on offshore drilling this week has weakened politically that was tightening three Republican senators running for reunification in coastal states where drilling is widely Is opposed.

Trump signed a memo on Tuesday, directing his Interior Secretary to ban drilling in waters off both the coasts of Florida and the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina for a period of 10 years.

For Trump, it was a dramatic face on a major policy decision, but one that could pay dividends of an election year in major coastal states such as Florida. It relieved Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and David Perdue, all Democratic targets. For months, the trio was caught in the midst of bipartisan opposition to the president’s boom on drilling expansion and enough to be considered in his home states.

Some in the Senate have been closer to Graham with Trump, who flew with the president to Florida for Tuesday’s announcement. He praised Trump’s decision as “great news” for South Carolina.

Graham’s emerging position on drilling has been a focal point for opponents, eager to portray the president’s frequent golf partner, the three-term senator, as masterful of his influence. Following the Trump administration’s announcement of a five-year plan to open up 90% of the country’s offshore reserves to private development in 2017, Graham said there are “ways to drill offshore in ways that won’t harm tourism” – $ 24 billion South Carolina Industry – Since then, he felt that states should be able to get out or before drilling.

A PAC supporting Graham’s Democratic opponent, Jem Harrison, has seized on the drilling to try to destroy support for Graham in a conservative-leaning state. The day before Trump’s announcement, when thousands of visitors arrived on the beaches of South Carolina for Labor Day, Lindsay Must Go Pac flew with a banner aircraft conveying the “L”. Graham wants to bring 4 oil here. “It also commissioned a digital advertisement highlighting Graham’s support for drilling expansion and oil industry ties.

It is a line of attack that has previously proved successful, albeit on a smaller scale. In 2018, Democrat Joe Cunningham became the first Democrat to flip a South Carolina seat from red to blue in decades, seizing on Republican Katie Arrington’s support for Trump’s drilling proposal.

The political dynamic is similar in Georgia, where – due to the retirement of longtime Sen. Johnny Isakson at the end of 2019 – both state Republican Senators are on the ballot.

Georgia government chief Republican Brian Kemp, another Trump aide and his Republican predecessor, Nathan Deal, have opposed drilling on the state’s 100 miles (160 km) coast. State lawmakers have passed an anti-drilling resolution, as the state has several cities and counties. Last year, US raped Buddy Carter, a Savannah-area Republican who spent years avoiding the potential benefits of drilling, wrote a letter asking Trump to exclude Georgia from any offshore drilling plans.

Perdue – seeking a second term and challenged by Democratic John Ossoff – previously said the issue would be a back-burner for Georgia and wanted to pursue energy independence, but stressed the need to ensure returns on drilling Given. He shies away from adopting Trump’s initial expansion plans, as coastal Georgia mayors and elected councils adopted anti-drilling resolutions.

Loeffler, who took over as a coronovirus epidemic earlier this year, has not made the offshore drilling debate the focus of his campaign. Her office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

His Democratic opponent on Twitter, Rafael Warnak, called for an expanded ban “Trump did just one more political stunt to distract us from the damage done to our environment.” The state’s Democrats criticized Trump’s similar announcement.

Despite coastal objections, the federal search for drilling tests has continued apace. With an incremental move, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an order earlier in the summer over some bipartisan objections from the state to allow it to apply for testing along the South Carolina coast.

In his own reelection battle, Trump’s announcement has already opened him up to accusations of flip-flopping, given his 2018 move to expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic Oceans and reliance on foreign sources Supported efforts to boost US energy production to reduce. . The drilling decision then intensified immediate opposition from coastal governors up and down the Atlantic coastline, including Florida’s Rick Scott, who successfully lobbied waivers for his state, prompting others to do the same, including The government of South Carolina was also involved. Henry McCoster.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday alleged that Trump had changed his mind on the issue as “nearing the election”.

Reminding him of his close relationship with the president, Graham said on Tuesday that he “attempted to make sure Trump included South Carolina in the announcement” once learning that the ban would be expanded.

“The decision by President Trump to include South Carolina fulfills the wishes of our coastal communities and state leadership,” Graham said. “I greatly appreciate President Trump for listening to our state and salvation for our people.”