“It is not a formal action, no,” Walter Cruickshank, the bureau’s acting director, told a subcommitteeof the House Committee on Natural Resources.
The bureau was pushing ahead with an analysis of resources off Florida’s shores, Mr. Cruickshank said, and a formal decision on whether to commence offshore leasing off Florida would come after that analysis.
“The secretary’s decision will be reflected in the proposed program decision,” he said.
He was not aware that anyone at Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had discussed Mr. Zinke’s Florida tweet beforehand, he added.
Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for the Department of the Interior, said Mr. Cruickshank’s remarks did not necessarily contradict the secretary’s decision. Mr. Cruickshank “simply said BOEM will finish the legally-required analysis of the planning areas, as is always done for all planning areas,” she said in an email.
Governor Scott’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a statement, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona, the senior Democrat on the subcommittee, responsible for energy and mineral resources, criticized the confusion caused by what he called “an out-of-control administration with incompetent top leadership.”
“Instead of carefully following laws and regulations, this administration writes policy on a napkin, announces it on social media and calls it a day,” Mr. Grijalva said.