U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in the White House hot seat after he went “rogue” in the decision to exempt Florida from expanded offshore drilling, reports Axios.
According to the report, President Donald Trump was not pleased.
Not long after the calendar rolled into 2018, Zinke announced his intention to overturn an Obama-era ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along 90 percent of the nation’s coastal waters. The move would have included Florida, among a number of other states; however, after meeting with Republican Gov. Rick Scott shortly after, Zinke announced via Twitter that the Sunshine State’s waters would be spared until 2024, unlike a number of other states across the Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Axios reports that sources with direct knowledge of the incident said that Trump had specifically asked Zinke about the drilling decision in a Jan. 10 cabinet meeting, just a day after the interior secretary's announcement, and that their conversation at the time was not contentious. According to the report, Zinke did not coordinate with any member of the White House prior to making his decision.
Following the Axios story on Sunday, Zinke made an appearance in an interview with Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM.
“Florida is different in the currents – I’m a geologist – it’s different in geology,” Zinke eloquently explained to host Amanda House, Breitbart News’ deputy political editor.
Zinke later added: “Every member of the Florida delegation wrote me personally. The governor, who is a friend, asked for an immediate meeting, and the executive order that the president signed, did not include the Eastern Gulf for review.”
A number of lawmakers from the other coastal states included in the new oil and gas drilling laws – from New Hampshire to Washington, New York to California, and beyond – have asked for a similar exemption:
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson — who many believe Scott will challenge in the 2018 elections for Nelson's U.S. Senate seat — called the move on Scott and Zinke's part a "shameless political stunt."