Plan to exempt Florida from drilling isn't final, official says

Sen. Bill Nelson says previous statement a 'political stunt'


WASHINGTON - An Interior Department official says the Trump administration's promise to exempt Florida from an offshore drilling plan is not a formal action.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is proposing to open nearly all U.S. coastline to offshore oil and gas drilling. At issue is a promise by Zinke to keep Florida "off the table" for offshore drilling.

Walter Cruickshank is acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Cruickshank says Zinke's announcement "stands on its own," but there's no formal decision yet on the five-year drilling plan.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says that confirms what fellow Democrats suspect -- that Zinke's statement was "nothing more than a political stunt" to help Republican Gov. Rick Scott run for Nelson's Senate seat.

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