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Opinions on offshore drilling could help shape US energy policy

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will welcome public comment on the expansion of offshore drilling at an open house Thursday.

A series of meetings are being held across the country through March, where people can speak to subject matter experts before providing their own opinions for BOEM to consider.

A federal law currently bans any oil or gas exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that surrounds Florida’s Gulf coast. The moratorium expires in 2022.

A January draft proposal by the Department of Interior considers reopening leasing in that area as well as regions bordering Florida’s Atlantic coast.

After strong opposition from Florida Governor Rick Scott, and legislatures on both sides of the aisle, Secretary Ryan Zinke said he would not recommend Florida as part of his final proposal.

However, that final proposal will not be released until sometime in 2019 and legislation proposed by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise would limit the President’s ability to withdrawal certain areas from leasing.

Information gathered at the public comment meetings will be considered by Secreatry Zinke before he develops his final proposal. There will be two more public comment periods in the next year.

The meeting is being held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton in downtown Tallahassee.ting Tie

The same information and opportunity to comment is also available virtually.

WINK News Investigative Reporter Lauren Sweeney will report live from the meeting starting on WINK News at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
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