Nelson says Florida is not “off the table” for drilling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a House Natural Resources Committee hearing this morning, Walter Cruickshank, the Trump administration’s director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), admitted during questioning that Florida is not “off the table” for offshore oil drilling.

When asked to justify why Florida got a special carve out, Cruickshank responded, “We have no formal decision yet on what’s in, or out, of the five-year program.”

“So there’s been no decision to exempt Florida?” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) interjected.

“The secretary’s statement stands for itself,” the administration official responded.

Florida Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) asked him to explain and further clarify exactly what he meant by the secretary’s statement “stands on its own.”

“By ‘stand on its own’ … it’s not an official action, is that what you mean?” Soto asked.

“It is not a formal action, no,” the official admitted.

“So there has been no formal action to remove Florida from the five year drilling plan, as of right now?” Soto asked.

“We will be including it in the analysis,” Cruickshank responded.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called the admission “stunning” and that it confirmed what he had suspected all along – that the announcement Zinke made following a 20-minute meeting with Gov. Rick Scott was nothing more than a “political stunt” and not an announcement of official policy.