And then on Tuesday night, January 9, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that the waters off the Florida coast will be excluded from the new plan after he met with Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the Tallahassee International Airport.
Sierra Weaver, a lawyer for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said Zinke's move was a breach of protocol that will put the Interior Department on shaky legal footing if the secretary doesn't treat other coastal states in the same way.
Zinke said Florida was "obviously unique" when it comes to drilling.
"We respectfully request that you reconsider the suitability of offshore drilling in waters near Long Island", they said. Yet they may be disappointed if new reports about the motivation for Tuesday's announcement prove correct.
Oceana, an ocean protection group headquartered in Washington, D.C., prepared an informal survey of elected leaders of both parties who have tweeted their opposition since the administration introduced its offshore plan.
In a statement, Cooper says drilling could also lead to problems on North Carolina's coast.
In Oregon, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown took to Twitter to ask Zinke for relief.
The Trump administration's decision to offer almost all coastal US waters for oil and gas drilling won't interfere with the government's aggressive steps to lease those waters for possibly thousands of wind turbines, federal officials said.
The state is also important economically, with a multibillion-dollar tourism business built on sunshine and miles of white sandy beaches. With the Florida decision, the Trump administration has shown that it may not use fair, reasonable metrics in its decision making. Trump spent his Christmas and New Year's break at his Mar-a-Lago resort. "As a result of discussion with Governor Scott's (sic) and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms".
Nelson called Scott's meeting with Zinke "a political stunt" and said Scott has long wanted to drill off Florida's coast, despite his recent opposition. Mounting uncertainties over the timeline and legislation could deter oil companies from planning to spend big on exploration, while drilling along the coastal areas could be challenged by states and could increase risks for oil firms' budget planning and possible legal expenses. "This is good policy for Florida", said John Tupps, a Scott spokesman.
The change of course - just five days after Zinke announced the offshore drilling plan - highlights the political importance of Florida, where President Donald Trump narrowly won the state's 29 electoral votes in the 2016 election and has encouraged Scott to run for Senate.
"I am opposed to off shore drilling of South Carolina's shore".
Deep-sea oil drilling off nearly all coastlines in the United States, both on the Atlantic and Pacific sides, are being given the green light by the Trump administration. Then there is the price of oil in a few years' time to consider, as well as the fact that companies in the USA are increasingly earmarking investments into onshore shale at the expense of conventional offshore.
Industry groups praised the announcement, while environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would harm America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.