Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state said 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 US coastal waters.
"By removing Florida from consideration, we can now focus on how we can further protect our environment, including our proposal for record funding for the Everglades, our springs, our beaches and our state parks", Scott said Tuesday.
Rick Scott seems to have found the secret to getting the Trump administration to undo a stupid and risky policy: just ask. "But there's places where resources are sensitive, and there's places where we're not going to go forward with [drilling for oil] and one of them is off the coast of Florida".
"The Trump administration is correct in concluding that offshore drilling could have a devastating impact on Florida's tourism industry and coastal economy, " said Rep. We don't even quibble with Scott's pitch to take Florida out of it.
"If you look at the canals that have been built along Louisiana wetlands to transport oil there, they've led to the destruction of marshland", he said.
Zinke's action is especially outrageous because Florida unlike California, Washington and other states did not expressly oppose the drilling proposal in written comments submitted to the Interior Department, Cantwell said.
When asked if he will push for a waiver from the Trump administration, McMaster said, "I will be taking appropriate steps and there will be more news later".
Zinke announced on January 4 parts of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic waters, were part of a draft proposal consisting of 47 new leases to expand offshore oil drilling expeditions.
Filmmaker and outspoken Trump critic Michael Moore-who threatened to frack off the coast of the president's Florida vacation home after offshore drilling expansion was announced-also responded to the state's removal from the proposal.
Late Tuesday, Nelson blasted the announcement as a "political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott".
The decision to exempt Florida could also open the Trump administration to legal challenges, allowing states not exempted to complain that the decision is arbitrary because one state was left off the list because Zinke talked with the governor. "I don't believe it", Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson said in a statement. "The whole eastern Gulf?"
"Right now, his promise is just empty words because the only real thing out there that is existing is the law that prevents drilling off of the coast of the gulf of Florida for the next 5 years", said Nelson.
Early on Wednesday, Newsom punched out a couple of tweets directed at Zinke that appeared to highlight that the Interior Secretary is a flaming partisan hypocrite hell-bent on fulfilling the Trump mandate to punish blue states, regardless of the appearance of flaming partisan hypocrisy.