President Donald Trump visits Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, extends ban on offshore oil drilling

Trump expanding ban to east coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina
President Donald Trump speaks at Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Sept. 8, 2020
Posted at 6:55 AM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 18:46:30-04

JUPITER, Fla. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday made his first visit to Palm Beach County since March and spoke about protecting Florida's environment during a visit to Jupiter.

During a speech at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, the president announced he's extending a moratorium, or temporary ban, on offshore oil drilling along Florida's gulf coast, and expanding the ban to Florida's east coast, as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.

"With fracking, the shale revolution, and the tremendous surge in American energy production, we're showing that we can create jobs, safeguard the environment, and keep prices low for America and low for our citizens," Trump said.

The president touted several other of his administration's environmental policies, including $100 million to fight red tide and toxic algae in Florida, more than $500,000 to fix the aging Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee, and more than $38 billion in improvements to drinking water infrastructure.

"I'm committed to ensuring the United States has the cleanest air and cleanest drinking water on Earth," Trump said.

FULL NEWS CONFERENCE: President Donald Trump visits Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, extends ban on offshore oil drilling

Democrative presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted this just moments after the president's speech:

"Just months ago, Donald Trump was planning to allow oil and gas drilling off the coast of Florida.

Now, with 56 days until the election, he conveniently says that he changed his mind. Unbelievable.

You don't have to guess where I stand: I oppose new offshore drilling."

Earlier on Tuesday, the president spoke to reporters shortly before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, saying his administration has had great success in combating the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

"Vaccine is looking very good, " Trump said. "We've done a great job with COVID."

President Trump speaks to reporters before trip to Jupiter

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse said it's been 131 years since a sitting American president has visited the landmark.

A crowd of dozens of Trump supporters started gathering outside the lighthouse hours before the president's visit on Tuesday, holding signs and waving large flags and banners.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., said on Twitter he was excited to host Trump "to discuss building on the momentum of the Great American Outdoors Act (that I helped pass to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund) and continuing the fight for clean water."

The Great American Outdoors Act provides funding for national parks, forests, recreation areas, and more.

Tuesday marked President Trump's 11th visit to Florida this year.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Election 2020 | Protecting Paradise

Trump departed Palm Beach International Airport just before 4 p.m. and will travel to North Carolina for a campaign rally on Tuesday night.

Biden released this statement on Tuesday ahead of Trump's environmental trip to Jupiter:

"With more than 11,000 deaths, 600,000 cases, and 3.6 million workers across the state who have filed for unemployment benefits since March, it is clear that Floridians have been hurt by President Trump’s inability to contain the spread of COVID-19. But what we won’t hear from Donald Trump when he visits Florida today is a plan to overcome this pandemic or a strategy to put Floridians back to work.

When it comes to the coronavirus, it’s no surprise that President Trump has refused to listen to the experts and the scientists -- just look at his environmental record. Trump has called the climate crisis a “hoax.” He has eliminated rules designed to keep our air and water clean. And, dangerously, he has opened up additional public lands, both on land and offshore, to the possibility of new oil and gas drilling, a deeply unpopular threat to Florida’s natural environment and tourism-based economy. I’ll promise you this: As President, I will work with experts to fight COVID-19, make historic investments to create millions of clean energy jobs, and get our economy back on track so it works for all Americans, not just Trump’s Mar-a-Lago crowd."

Dozens of Biden supporters held a protest at Burt Reynolds Park in Jupiter on Tuesday afternoon, holding signs that read "Corrupt," "Truth Matters," and "Loser," saying President Trump hasn't done enough to protect our local environment.