Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Tuesday that he is removing Florida from the plan he unveiled last week that would potentially allow offshore oil and natural gas drilling to take place along almost all of the nation's coasts.
"I support the governor's position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver", said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, per The Hill.
Last week, Governor Scott requested to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss his concerns with the federal oil drilling plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration.
"It was the perception of visitors thinking the entire gulf coast was ruined, that we saw a dramatic decrease in our revenues that summer and it had a ripple effect through the entire economy", he said. "Because we all like to go out to our beaches and enjoy them", Scott said.
That's the same Rick Scott who banned his state's employees from using the term "climate change", which is ironic because climate change will be the long-term result of the US drilling and using more oil, causing sea level rises that will inundate more of Florida.
In April, Trump, echoing the sentiments of the oil companies blocked from drilling on roughly 94 percent of the outer continental shelf, said Obama's ban "deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth".
The trouble began January 4 when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed opening almost the entire Outer Continental Shelf off the US coast to oil and gas drilling. But on Tuesday, following objections from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Zinke said Florida would be exempt from the plan.
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"For more than 30 years, our shared coastline has been protected from further federal drilling and we'll do whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action", California Gov.
Scott's announcement came as the term-limited Republican governor is poised to potentially run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Zinke, containing a number of questions.
Florida has been dropped from a new five-year draft plan to allow offshore oil and gas drilling along the Atlantic coast, leaving New Jersey officials urging that it should be awarded the same treatment.
If that's the reason Florida was removed from the offshore oil plan, the action is contrary to how such important decisions should be made.
Reps. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist. and Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd Dist., signed a separate letter to Zinke in opposition to Atlantic offshore drilling.
"I suspect he has only embraced this issue for political expedience", the environmentalist said.
Other Republicans from the state - including representatives from the eastern part of North Carolina like David Rouzer, Robert Pittenger, and George Holding - support drilling.