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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 ShaubSolicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits News station criticized for publishing 'smear' about man killed in his apartment by off-duty officer Former ethics chief, a vocal Trump critic, joins watchdog group MORE on Tuesday blasted Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeWhy grizzly bear hunting season isn’t happening Trump administration proposes tough rules on protests Overnight Energy: Trump officials propose tough rules on protests | EPA chief calls racist Facebook post he liked 'offensive'| Dems push Zinke to rescind 'open science' order 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 TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border 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.