Former ethics chief on Zinke exempting Florida from drilling: You’re making us a ‘banana republic’

Former ethics chief on Zinke exempting Florida from drilling: You’re making us a ‘banana republic’

Former White House ethics chief Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubEx-ethics chief: Trump 'Southern White House' tweet part of attempt to monetize presidency Overnight Energy: Ethics office scolds Pruitt | Some Republicans rally round EPA chief | Perry might not issue grid emergency order | Apple hits renewable energy milestone Top ethics official asks EPA to ‘appropriately address’ Pruitt controversies MORE on Tuesday blasted Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Pruitt proposes rule targeting 'secret science' | Dems probe Pruitt's security chief | FAA bill provisions could strip endangered species protections Zinke added birther conspiracy theorist to his super PAC's board: report More than 100 groups call on Congress to oppose weakening national park protections MORE's decision to exempt Florida from offshore oil and gas programs, claiming it appears to be a conflict of interest to protect the state that houses President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans hold on to Arizona House seat Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Mulvaney to bankers: Campaign donations will help limit consumer bureau's power MORE's Palm Beach luxury resort.

"So you are exempting the state that is home to the festering cankerous conflict of interest that the administration likes to call the 'Winter White House' and none of the other affected states?" tweeted Walter Shaub, referring to Mar-a-Lago.

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Shaub, who served as the head of the Office of Government Ethics until July, suggested the country is heading in the direction of a "banana republic" and Zinke is leading the charge.

 

Zinke decided to not allow drilling in waters near Florida through 2024 after a Tuesday meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who expressed his opposition to the plan on the grounds that it would affect tourism.

The secretary had proposed opening almost all of the nation’s coasts to drilling earlier this week.

President Trump has directed me to rebuild our offshore oil and gas program in a manner that supports our national energy policy and also takes into consideration the local and state voice,” Zinke said in a statement.

“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” he continued.

“As a result of discussion with Gov. Scott's [sic] and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”

The governors of nearly all the states along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts have joined Scott in calling for their shores to be removed from the plan, but Zinke has not ruled any other area out at this stage in the process.

Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to mid-2017, has repeatedly criticized the Trump administration for what he perceives as conflicts of interest.