The U.S. Department of the Interior announced on Thursday plans to open almost all of federally controlled waters to offshore oil and gas drilling. The proposed plans include the sale of 12 leases in the Gulf of Mexico. On Twitter, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, called the plan "an assault on Florida’s economy, our national security, the will of the public, and the environment." Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement that he is also opposed to offshore oil drilling in Florida. In a statement, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, called the move "reckless, misguided and potentially catastrophic to Florida" and tweeted that it is "not acceptable" to consider offshore drilling in Florida waters. “As the state with the longest coastlines in the continental United States, Florida is especially vulnerable to oil spills," Buchanan said, according to a press release. "Have we forgotten so soon the devastating damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010? Our economy, environment and way of life is at stake if restrictions on oil drilling are lifted."
The department's announcement is the first step in a multi-year process. Current U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was appointed by President Trump last year.