A Florida senator at the center of the debate over offshore drilling under the Trump administration said the Interior Department's latest plans lack clarity.
But taking Florida off the table sparked even more backlash from almost all other coastal states along the Pacific and the Atlantic, with governors and representatives demanding the states they represent be exempt, too.
The state is also important economically, with a multibillion-dollar tourism business built on sunshine and miles and miles of white sandy beaches.
We write to you today regarding your recent decision to remove Florida from inclusion in the Trump Administration's new proposal to open up the vast majority of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling.
Last week, the Trump Administration announced a controversial plan to dramatically expand drilling leases across 90 percent of the US outer continental shelf, including the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and parts of the Arctic Ocean.
Since Thursday, Zinke also has spoken to the governors of SC and Delaware.
"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". The statement said Zinke intends to meet or talk with any governor who submits a request.
Opposition by coastal states, both East and West, had already been strong, even before Secretary Zinke said on Tuesday that he supports Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott's position that "Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver".
"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts", Nelson on Tuesday. But now, suddenly, Secretary Zinke announces plans to drill off Florida's coast and (five) days later agrees to "take Florida off the table"? "I believe courts will strike this down". "We shouldn't be playing politics with the future of FL".
Zinke said last week that the drilling plan called for responsible development that would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along USA coastlines.
The draft plan now under development would run from 2019 through 2024.
According to the Huff Post, Zink told reporters on Thursday that "the administration has identified 47 potential lease sales, including 19 off the coast of Alaska and 12 in the Gulf of Mexico".
Industry groups praised the announcement, the most expansive offshore drilling proposal in decades.
Roy Cooper has made a pitch to a Trump administration official about why Atlantic waters off the state's coast should be removed from the federal government's list of offshore drilling locations.
These Senators strongly oppose the Trump Administration's offshore drilling plan, which is bad for the environment and public health and could devastate coastal economies.