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Jan 12, 6:46 PM EST

Governor office: Zinke to reconsider drilling off Oregon



SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke agreed to consider exempting Oregon from the Trump administration's offshore drilling plan after speaking with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, her office said Friday.

Brown previously criticized Zinke for the plan to resume drilling off the coast of the United States, saying it would endanger Oregon's coast.

Several other states have objected, but Florida was the only one to receive an exemption after its Republican governor complained.

The department said in a statement earlier Friday that Zinke had set up calls with the governors of Rhode Island, Oregon, California, Washington, Delaware and North Carolina to get their input.

Zinke called Brown, a Democrat, and they wound up speaking for 28 minutes, said her spokesman, Bryan Hockaday.

"Regarding the offshore drilling ban, Gov. Brown asked for the same consideration for Oregon's 'people's coast' as was given Florida," Hockaday said. "Secretary Zinke agreed with concerns about the economic risks that offshore drilling could bring to Oregon and committed to work with the governor."

The governors of California and Washington have also told Interior they strongly oppose any new leasing off their coasts and asked to be removed from the plan.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said he also spoke Friday on the phone with Zinke and reiterated his opposition to the offshore oil drilling proposal.

"I told him the concerns of Washingtonians and West Coast residents deserve be treated with the same consideration and deliberation as those in Florida," Inslee said in a statement. "Secretary Zinke did not provide that commitment, unfortunately."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders denied the administration gave special treatment to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, an ally of President Donald Trump who is considered a likely Senate candidate later this year.

Industry groups praised the announcement to drill offshore, while environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would harm America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.

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Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

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