A US Department of the Interior (DOI) official has cast into doubt the recent talk of Florida being exempted from an expanded offshore drilling plan, according to the Associated Press.
Addressing a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee, the acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Walter Cruickshank said: “We have no formal decision yet on what’s in, or out, of the five-year programme.”
In early January DOI had announced the expanded drilling plan that included all US shorelines –Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Arctic – including many areas previously off limits.
Then on January 9 DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke met with Florida governor Rick Scott and said the state had unique circumstance and would be exempted.
That opened the door for politicians from numerous coastal states to call for their own exemption.
Zinke had said he was willing to meet with all relevant governors.
Now Cruickshank’s answer to the committee suggests there are no guaranteed exemptions, even for Florida.
Democratic Party politicians have aired suspicions that Zinke’s pledge to Scott was empty rhetoric intended to help Scott, a Republican, in a mooted run for the US Senate.