Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has caved in to pressure from the governor and is banning oil and gas drilling off the Florida coast.
“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said in a statement late Tuesday.
He outright admitted that Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott pressured him to put the state’s waters off limits.
Last week, the Trump administration proposed opening nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, reversing former Obama administration policies.
The White House has said it wants to make the U.S. more energy independent.
But environmental groups and Republican and Democratic governors from coastal states loudly object. They say oil and gas drilling puts marine life, beaches, and lucrative tourism at risk.
The Pentagon has also expressed misgivings about drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, where naval exercises are held.
The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf was the largest such disaster in U.S. history, causing billions of dollars in damage to the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to Florida, killing more than 100,000 different marine mammals, birds, and reptiles.