Trump administration backs down on oil drilling off Florida's coast

Sen. Nelson: 'I don't believe it' calls move 'political stunt'

Harry Gerwin/Getty Images

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Trump administration says it will not allow oil drilling off the coast of Florida, bowing to pressure from Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (ZIN'-kee) said after meeting with Scott Tuesday that drilling would be "off the table" when it comes to waters in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida.

Zinke announced plans last week to greatly expand offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The plan was immediately met with bipartisan opposition on both coasts.

Scott, who is expected to run for Senate this year, came out against the plan when it was first announced.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, issued a statement of skepticism after the Trump administration's change of heart on Tuesday.

“I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts. But now, suddenly, Secretary Zinke announces plans to drill off Florida's coast and four days later agrees to "take Florida off the table"?  I don’t believe it. This is a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott, who has wanted to drill off Florida's coast his entire career. We shouldn’t be playing politics with the future of Florida.” 

President Donald Trump, who frequently spends time in Florida, won the state's 29 electoral votes in the 2016 election.

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