Trump Reportedly Thinks Ryan Zinke Is Fumbling Florida's Energy Policy


Axios reported Sunday that Donald Trump is souring on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke—with whom the Donald bonded immediately and intensely, by all accounts—after Zinke reversed his decision to allow oil and gas companies to lease thousands of acres of water off of Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

Shortly after the new year, Zinke announced that he would overturn an Obama-era ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along 90 percent of America’s coastal waters; just five days later, he tweeted that the decision would not apply to Florida. In doing so, Zinke ignored agency guidelines, which say that leasing areas may only be removed from consideration “gradually, through a multi-year process that specifically weighs various factors, like environmental risks and oil and gas resource potential.”

The White House considers both the decision to change course and the way it was announced “so clumsy” and “rogue,” Axios reported. It adds:

Trump has made clear to Zinke that he’s angry about this move, according to two sources with direct knowledge. Zinke’s decision is both legally and politically dangerous for the Trump administration. Zinke did not coordinate with anybody, and gave the White House no forewarning of his controversial action.

Officials are also reportedly worried that the “arbitrary and capricious” nature of Zinke’s decision will prompt environmental attorneys, who hope to ban oil and gas drilling in other coastal states, to sue the administration.

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