US offshore drilling: Florida wins exemption from Trump plan

Image caption The plan has been junked in Florida over concerns about how it will affect the state's delicate environment - and hence its huge tourism industry

The administration of US President Donald Trump has exempted the state of Florida from controversial plans for offshore drilling for oil and gas.

The reversal comes after vocal opposition from the state's Republican Governor Rick Scott when the plans were announced last week.

It is set to trigger further demands for exemptions from other states.

The five-year plan was to open 90% of the nation's offshore reserves to leasing from drilling companies.

US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it would boost the economy and ensure US "energy dominance", but environmentalists decried it as a "shameful giveaway" to the oil industry.

Why has Secretary Zinke made this U-turn?

"The governor," he said simply.

In a statement posted on Twitter , he explained that he agreed with Gov Scott's position that "Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.

"As a result... I am removing Florida from consideration from any new oil and gas platforms."

He said President Trump had directed him to "take into consideration the local and state voice" in deciding policy.

Gov Scott cheered the decision, saying he would "never stop fighting for Florida's environment and our pristine coastline".

But Florida's Democratic Senator Bill Nelson smelled a rat.

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