WASHINGTON – Opposition to the Trump administration's oil drilling plans — and the controversial Florida exemption — spilled onto the Senate floor on Tuesday with several Democrats saying the whole thing needs to be withdrawn.
"It's no wonder that the attorney general from 12 coastal states wrote to the secretary to warn him that he should terminate the draft proposal — terminate it entirely or else they are going to pursue their appropriate legal avenues," said Sen. Bill Nelson, who deemed the process a "mess" and again blasted the way Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke teamed up with Gov. Rick Scott in announcing the Florida carve-out.
"The administration, specifically Secretary Zinke, is playing fast and loose with the prospect that affects millions of people in the state of Florida, and Floridians deserve to know what's going on," Nelson said. "The whole process has been fraught with confusion because it was a political stunt."
Zinke has said Florida is unique and noted it already has a ban on drilling in the eastern Gulf that lasts until 2022. Scott has said that he trusts Zinke will keep his word.
But legal challenges are looming and some argue Zinke may have actually hurt Florida.
Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware suggested President Trump has a self-interest in the matter: