Report: Trump Annoyed That Zinke Exempted Florida From Drilling Program

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When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced earlier this month that Florida would be exempted from the Trump administration’s new offshore drilling program, he did so without giving President Donald Trump a heads up, irking the President, Axios reported Sunday evening.

The White House was caught off guard by the announcement, and Zinke’s decision to exempt Florida without input from the White House angered the President, per Axios. Trump has signaled to Zinke that he’s unhappy with him, two people with knowledge of the situation told Axios.

Zinke announced his decision after meeting with GOP Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Tallahassee. Since Republicans are lobbying Scott to run for Senate in 2018, the overture was seen as a political move to help Scott’s standing with Florida voters. In his announcement, Zinke credited Scott for convincing him that “Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver” and that drilling could hurt the state’s economy.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in coastal states balked at Zinke’s decision to exempt Florida and called for their states to be spared from the offshore drilling expansion as well.