Oregon Gov. Kate Brown continued to call out the Trump administration on Wednesday for what she sees as a political ploy to remove Florida, but not other coastal states such as Oregon, from the recently revealed federal offshore oil drilling proposal.
Brown was on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 when Cooper asked her if she believed the removal of Florida from the proposal was strictly political.
“What can I think otherwise? Is it about [Gov. Rick Scott] wanting to run for the U.S. Senate? Or is it about President Trump wanting to protect Mar-a-Lago? I don’t know the answer because Secretary Zinke hasn’t returned our calls.”
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke unveiled a proposal last week that would be the largest expansion of offshore oil drilling in U.S. history and open up previously protected areas. Those areas include the Oregon, Washington and California coasts.
On Tuesday, Zinke announced that after talking with Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Florida would be removed from the proposal.
“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said in a statement.
Brown on Wednesday argued the same principle applies to Oregon, where she says the state's beaches were a $2 billion industry last year with more than 20,000 jobs.
“Our coastal beaches are really important to Oregonians. They are very much a part of who we are and they’re very important for our economy. I don’t know why it’s OK for Florida and not OK for Oregon,” she said.
Democrats have accused the Trump administration of playing favors to states with Republican leadership and not giving the same treatment to coastal states with Democratic governors. The complaints came as South Carolina's Republican governor said Wednesday he is seeking an exemption from the proposed drilling expansion, a move that will test the relationship between Trump and one of his earliest supporters.
“We are outraged. This is absolutely unacceptable,” Brown said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.