"My top priority is to ensure that Florida's natural resources are protected", he said after the Trump administration's announcement last week. For almost a year, Trump has been urging Scott to challenge Democratic Florida Sen.
"You have Florida, which obviously has incredibly electoral college consequences in presidential contests, all of a sudden being exempted in a way that other states might not be that are a little smaller in population count", Sanford told CNN.
"I have spent my entire life fighting to keep oil rigs away from our coasts", Nelson said in a statement. He said the coast here relies on tourism too, and offshore drilling poses too much of a risk to our coast.
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"President Trump's offshore drilling plan is unprecedented and will face major opposition from Mainers at its first public hearing on January 22", First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Sen. Nelson said he's filed new legislation to permanently ban drilling off of Florida's coast. The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint statement calling the proposal "a political decision" that "flies in the face of decades of strong opposition ... from Republicans and Democrats alike".
In addition to Democrats, many Republicans have also decried the change by the Trump administration and the Florida exemption. Massachusetts, Senator Ed Markey is also opposed to Zinke's plan, stating, "The Trump administration's plan would be to turn the waters off of Massachusetts and every coastal state in the country into a fossil fuel free-for-all, and would threaten Massachusetts' fishing industry, our tourism industry and the environment with the threat of an oil spill".
Florida's Rick Scott (R) was among the coastal governors who spoke up.
Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam asked Thursday that Virginia be exempt from the Trump administration's plan to open nearly all of America's offshore waters to drilling.
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Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says Virginia's governor and governor-elect have both asked for an exemption, unsuccessfully. "Wonder why..." Kaine wrote.
'New York doesn't want drilling off our coast either, ' New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted Wednesday.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra used some of Zinke's statement regarding Florida to make his point on Twitter.
David Hayes, a former adviser to President Barack Obama and director of New York University's State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, wrote that the plan would be hard to defend because it "smacks of an impulsive, undisciplined, arbitrary process".
On whether he would challenge Nelson for his Senate seat at the end of his term as governor, Scott said he still has 362 days left in office and is focused on "making sure this is a state everybody wants to live".
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