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 USA coastal waters.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke grandly announced a week ago that forcing coastal states to accommodate offshore oil and gas drilling would help the Trump administration meet its goal of American energy dominance rather than mere independence. Instead, the letter warned about the effects of oil and gas activities on the environment and urged that "long-term protection of Florida's sensitive coastal and marine resources should be of paramount concern" in developing a drilling plan.
Brown previously criticized Zinke for the plan to resume drilling for oil and gas off the shores of the United States, saying it would endanger Oregon's coast.
The department said in a statement earlier Friday that Zinke had set up calls with the governors of Rhode Island, Oregon, California, Washington, Delaware and North Carolina to get their input.
Democratic governors along both coasts unanimously oppose drilling, as do a number of Republican governors, including McMaster, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker. "Secretary Zinke did not provide that commitment, unfortunately".More news: 10 people have died of the flu in SLO County
Mayor of Naples Bill Barnett said, "I want to thank Governor Scott for aggressively fighting to protect our world-class beaches by meeting with Secretary Zinke and securing Florida's removal from consideration for future oil drilling".
In California, Gov. Jerry Brown's office would not say what Zinke told Brown about offshore drilling during their 20-minute phone call on Friday.
Since Thursday, Zinke also has spoken to the governors of SC and Delaware.
Zinke said the administration acquiesced to a request from Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott. The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to development by private companies.