The Trump administration has handed Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) a major political win as Republicans try to entice him to run for the Senate, promising to spare his state from its plan to massively expand offshore drilling.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke flew to Tallahassee to meet with Scott Tuesday night and pledged to exempt Florida from his plans to open nearly all coastal areas in the U.S. to offshore drilling, while heaping praise on the governor for his work.
Republicans from Trump on down have spent more than a year pushing Scott, a self-funding billionaire and close Trump ally, to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). The move was seen by many as a naked political ploy — a way to boost Scott’s standing in the state, where offshore drilling is deeply unpopular, while pushing ahead on the plan in states like California where there are fewer local Republicans to worry about helping.
Zinke called Scott a “straightforward leader that can be trusted” in his statement announcing the decision, giving Scott all the credit for the reversal.
“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” he said. “As a result of discussion with [Scott] and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”
Posted by Libergirl