Congressman Darren Soto had the opportunity to engage Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, on Capitol Hill on Thursday, where he had the chance to ask where Zinke and White House stood on various environmental issues effecting the state.
During a meeting of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Soto was able to push Zinke towards designating the Kissimmee River as a National Wild and Scenic River which he believes is key to protecting the Northern Everglades.
“It’s my goal to be done in Florida sometime after the break.” said Zinke referring to the upcoming 4th of July holiday and adding he had met with Governor Rick Scott on the issues “My commitment to you is to work together to find solutions.”
The Congressman from the 9th District was also able to get assurance from Zinke that the 125 mile oil drilling ban off the Gulf Coast was not in danger.
“I understand the importance of protecting our coasts and developing sustainable energy from renewable sources rather than offshore drilling,” said Soto.
“I would say it’s not in jeopardy one way or another.” said Zike referring to pending tests from the military on the region.
There has been speculation that the White House could roll back Obama era environmental protections including areas off the Florida coast where oil drilling is not allowed. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have opposed any pushes at lifting the ban.
You can watch Soto and Zinke’s exchange below..