Florida not yet off the table for oil drilling expansion, Trump official says

Last Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018, 1:17 PM EST

Florida hasn't been taken off the table yet for an expansion of offshore oil drilling, according to testimony Friday by a Trump administration official.

"We have no formal decision yet on what’s in, or out, of the five-year program," said Walter Cruickshank, the Trump administration’s director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, to a House Natural Resources Committee panel.

“So there’s been no decision to exempt Florida?” asked Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

“The secretary’s statement stands for itself,” Cruickshank responded.

Rep. Darren Soto (D-Florida), whose district includes parts of Orlando area, Kissimmee and Winter Haven, then asked him to clarify what he meant by the secretary’s statement “stands on its own.”

“By ‘stand on its own,' ... it’s not an official action, is that what you mean?” Soto asked.

“It is not a formal action, no,” Cruickshank responded.

Last week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Tallahassee, and afterward announced that drilling off the coast of the state would be "off the table" from the administration's plans to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.

The plan was met with bipartisan opposition. Although Scott hasn't made a formal announcement, he's thought to be eyeing a Senate run this year.