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  January 12th, 2018 | Written by

Interior Department Grants Florida Waiver from Offshore Drilling

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  • Zinke: “I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”
  • Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson: "A political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration.”
  • Nelson: Rick Scott “has wanted to drill off Florida's coast his entire career."

The Trump administration announced last week that would be opening most US ocean waters to oil and gas drilling. But following objections voiced by the governor of Florida, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that Florida would be “off the table” when it comes to the administration’s new policy.

“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said in a statement. “As a result of a discussion with Governor Scott’s and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott is a Republican who, incidentally, is considering a challenge to Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, who is up for re-election this year. Nelson called Zinke’s announcement “a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott, who has wanted to drill off Florida’s coast his entire career.”

And what about Democratic governors who want to prevent offshore drilling in their states? As Business Insider’s Josh Barro asked:

The news from the Interior Department provoked reactions from elected Democrats who oppose drilling. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia asked why his state hadn’t received the same treatment:

California’s attorney general pointed out that California’s situation is not unlike Florida’s:

And New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to know where he can sign up for a drilling waiver: