WASHINGTON – Sen. Bill Nelson has invoked a "hold" on three Interior nominees until oil drilling plans are officially taken off the table.
To ensure agency Secretary Ryan Zinke "follows through on his commitment, Nelson said he will keep the holds in place until Zinke rescinds the draft five-year drilling plan published in the Federal Register on Jan 8 and replaces it with a new draft plan that preserves the current moratorium in the eastern Gulf of Mexico beyond 2022 and fully protects all of Florida's coasts from the threat of both offshore drilling and seismic testing," read a release from Nelson.
Nelson said Zinke hasn't responded to a request for details about his promise to Gov. Rick Scott to take Florida out of a broad plan for drilling off the coast.
His move amid sparring between Nelson and Scott, whom Zinke credited for the policy reversal. Nelson's said Scott has been inconsistent, while Republicans have noted Nelson wasn't as bullish in 2010 when the Obama administration offered its own plan.
The three Interior nominees Nelson placed a hold: Susan Combs, nominee to Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget; Ryan Nelson, nominated to be Solicitor; and Steven Gardner, nominated to be Director of the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, & Enforcement.
It wasn't clear Wednesday night where those nominees are the process.