Ryan Zinke removes Florida from offshore drilling plan

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Florida Republicans who protested the Trump administration's plan to open almost all coastal waters to drilling cheered a vow from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that their state would be "off the table" in the new plans going forward.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke made the announcement Tuesday that despite expanding oil drilling off vast swaths of America's coastline, he will exempt the Sunshine State from the possibility of leaking oil from offshore platforms befouling its beaches.

The drilling proposal, announced last week, includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas - 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic region including off the SC coast.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., described the reversal as "a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott" who has previously supported offshore drilling in Florida. "My top priority is to ensure that Florida's natural resources are protected, which is why I proposed $1.7 billion for the environment in this year's budget".

As Politico noted, Scott is mulling a run for the state's U.S. Senate seat and did not want the drilling albatross hanging around his neck.

"New York doesn't want drilling off our coast either", tweeted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"I have witnessed Governor Scott's leadership through hurricane season and am working closely with him on Everglades restoration", Zinke said.

While the drilling will continue off the coasts of many southern states, local officials said the distance decreases the chances of affecting Florida waters.

The Trump administration's move to exempt waters off Florida from its massive new offshore drilling plans just happens to mesh nicely with electoral politics.

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Katie Martin, spokeswoman with the National Republican Senate Committee, fired back at Nelson, saying "instead of celebrating the announcement as a win for Florida, Sen".

In his first campaign for governor in 2010, Scott called for Florida's offshore drilling moratorium to be lifted, according to Politifact.

But drilling off the OR coast may not yield much, if previous reports are any indication.

"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts".

"I'm not aware of any political favor that that (Florida exemption) would have been part of", Sanders said Thursday.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is hosting a series of public meetings up and down the Pacific and Atlantic coasts for input on the Trump administration's proposal. If we know the potential for spills could hurt Florida's economy, why isn't this a consideration for other coastal areas?

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra demanded Zinke to "immediately" remove California from the policy. Susan Glickman, Florida Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said the only reason to allow seismic testing is to find places to drill.

"WAIT! WHAT? Trump's removing Florida from the list of states to do offshore drilling after I've already rented my fracking equipment to drill off Mar-a-Lago?"

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