At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, admitted "Florida is still in the process," when asked about the agency’s five-year offshore drilling program.
That drew an immediate criticism from Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson's office, which said Zinke was contradicting his announcement earlier this year that Florida was "off the table" for offshore drilling.
In response to the latest from Zinke, Sen. Nelson said, "The Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, in front of the Senate Energy Committee today, has just said very confusingly - but bottom line - Florida is still on the table for drilling off of the coast of Florida. This is exactly the opposite of what the people of Florida want."
Nelson said that Zinke's latest statements would indicate that an announcement he made following a brief meeting with Gov. Scott, to the effect that Florida was "off the table" for offshore drilling, was a "political stunt," not an official announcement of policy.
Following Zinke’s announcement in January, Nelson sent the secretary a letter requesting specific details on any changes to the agency’s five-year plan.
Two months later, Nelson says he has not yet received a response.