Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state said Thursday that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's decision to give Florida a last-minute exemption while ignoring at least 10 other states that made similar requests may violate requirements of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which governs drilling in US coastal waters.
"Democrats have argued that Trump and Zinke were being hypocritical by agreeing to a request by Florida's Republican governor to withdraw from the drilling plan, but not making the same accommodation to states with Democratic governors". "Secretary Zinke agreed with concerns about the economic risks that offshore drilling could bring to OR and committed to work with the governor".
A few days after authorizing offshore drilling just about everywhere, the administration suddenly exempted Florida. In addition to Florida, the states of Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Washington have all opposed this plan for new leases off their coasts.
In a letter sent to Secretary Zinke on Thursday, U.S. Senator Kamala. Zinke said the Florida decision, which critics denounced as a partisan favor for the state's Republican governor, came as a result of local opposition and because its scenic coastline drives tourism.
The governors of California and Washington have also told Interior they strongly oppose any new leasing off their coasts and asked to be removed from the plan.
Mayor of Bonita Springs Peter Simmons said, "I applaud Governor Scott for opposing drilling along our beaches and fighting for environmental preservation across the state of Florida".
Since Thursday, Zinke also has spoken to the governors of SC and Delaware.
In announcing the exemption for Florida on Tuesday, Zinke called Scott "a straightforward leader that can be trusted".
This a case of special pleading at its worst, exacerbated by the fact that President Trump owns substantial beachfront resort property in Florida.
"Regarding the offshore drilling ban, Gov".