The reaction from the state's Republicans on Capitol Hill was a bit more muted, while environmentalists and some coastal officials urged the governor to push for an exemption similar to the one the Trump administration recently granted Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions - who allegedly involved himself in the effort to oust former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B. Comey with a false pretext, repeatedly misled the Senate on his Russian Federation contacts, supported the noxious Muslim ban, has demonized illegal immigrants for a nonexistent crime wave (thereby justifying a war on so-called sanctuary cities) and reversed a promise made to senators when he chose to reactivate enforcement of marijuana laws against ordinary users - is arguably the most unsafe and malicious member of the president's Cabinet. Immediately after their face-to-face in Tallahassee Tuesday, Zinke announced he would remove Florida waters from his drill-everywhere-else map. He'll reverse course to protect fellow Republicans in Florida, but not to protect coastlines and jobs across the rest of the country? Cooper, a Democrat, and McMaster, a Republican, have each requested a meeting with Zinke.
"All states and localities opposed to this drilling proposal should be heard and those with compelling reasons, like New Jersey, should receive waivers, if we're really about respecting local concerns in our national energy policy", Smith said.
In that statement, Zinke implicitly conceded Scott's point that offshore drilling would present a threat to Florida's coastal environment and economy.
Governors of other East Coast states - including Maryland and North and SC - have also voiced objections.
In other words, his decision is a model of ideological extremism tempered by partisan favoritism. After Zinke's announcement, Scott said he'd, quote, "never stopped fighting for Florida's environment and our pristine coastline".
The state is also important economically, with a multibillion-dollar tourism business built on sunshine and miles of white sandy beaches.
With Florida going to Trump in the race, and with the governor's senate ambitions, Nelson added that Zinke's move smacked of political favor. Trump spent his Christmas and New Year's break at his Mar-a-Lago resort. "I am encouraged by the decision to exempt Florida from the plan, and respectfully ask that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia". If the risk is too great for Florida, it is equally so for other states.
"Tourism and recreation along the DE coastline account for billions in economic activity each year, and support tens of thousands of jobs", Governor John Carney of DE, a Democrat, said in a Twitter post Wednesday morning.
However, only Scott was able to get results from his immediate opposition. "Had Zinke cared about the wishes of coastal communities or how drilling off their coasts will affect them, he would have proposed a plan that shrinks drilling even further, not proposed expanding operations to almost every corner of our waters".
On the West Coast, the governors of OR and Washington signaled that they'd like to be "off the table", too. This isn't about politics. Somewhat surprisingly, the only Republican member of the California delegation to follow suit has been Rep. Darryl Issa, who, perhaps not coincidentally, also announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection in 2018.
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift on Thursday released a statement that described the five-year draft plan for offshore drilling as an "open and public process" and said there will be revisions.