"If Secretary Zinke has really turned over a new leaf and chose to listen to local voices, he should listen to the outpouring of opposition coming from communities, businesses, and elected officials from both parties up and down our coasts and promptly withdraw his radical offshore drilling plan", League of Conservation Voters Deputy Legislative Director Alex Taurel said in a Tuesday night statement.
"I support the governor's position that Florida is unique and its coast is heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver", Zinke said. Zinke went on to say he personally has worked with Florida Governor Rick Scott and has "witnessed Governor Scott's leadership", as if that is a justification for exempting Florida from the Trump administration's reckless decision to grossly allow expansion of oil and gas drilling.
It opens up more than 90% of the national outer continental shelf (OCS) for development - making more than 98% of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to private companies.
Andrew Cuomo, New York's Democratic governor, tweeted: "New York doesn't want drilling off our coast either".
After what the Associated Press reported as a brief meeting between Zinke and Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott at the Tallahasee airport, Zinke said oil-drilling in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would be "off the table".
The soon to be gone New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie along with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, and Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan want no part of offshore drilling in their respective states.
The reversal for Florida led to immediate calls by other state leaders on the East and West coasts who are opposed to offshore drilling.
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Some have questioned whether exempting Florida was a "political ploy" to aid Scott, who is reportedly planning to run for U.S. Senate.
David Hayes, a former adviser to President Barack Obama and director of New York University's State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, wrote that the plan would be hard to defend because it "smacks of an impulsive, undisciplined, arbitrary process".
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.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra demanded Zinke to "immediately" remove California from the policy.
The Trump administration has chose to exclude Florida's coastline from the recently announced offshore oil and gas drilling program.
"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts", Nelson said in a statement.
Commissioner Donna Fiala agreed, worrying about what the impacts of drilling operations off Florida's coastline could have in the minds of potential visitors to the area.
"How, after this statement, do you justify extending the program to other states where the governors object, which is majority?"