- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rep. Brian Mast said Thursday the Florida lawmakers were in talks with the Trump administration about drilling restrictions well before the announcement last week.

“We have been beating the drum on this for a long, long time,” Mr. Mast, Florida Republican, said on CNN. “I don’t know how all the other governors have gone out there and done it, but I can tell you how we’ve done it and it’s been endless.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced last week that the administration plans to roll back drilling restrictions, opening up coastal areas across the country for possible sites. On Tuesday, Mr. Zinke announced Florida would be exempt from drilling due to its unique tourism industry that depends upon its pristine coastline.

States such as North Carolina and Massachusetts argued they too depend on major beach and ecotourism revenue, and should also be exempt.

Mr. Mast said it’s up to each state’s representatives to make their case to the administration as Florida did. He added that Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio both made the case to administration officials that Florida should be exempted.

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