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Trump Administration Proposes Expansion of Offshore Drilling Blog Winston’s Environmental Law Update
13 January 2018, 03:56 | Erica Roy
California leaders vow to fight Trump expansion of offshore oil drilling
"We are going to become the strongest energy superpower this world has ever known", Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters Thursday in a conference call.
Thursday's proposal is a draft. As Secretary Zinke said, the plan will ensure USA energy dominance for the foreseeable future.
The Trump administration's New Year gift to polluters: opening up almost all of America's coasts to oil and gasdrilling, plus more ongoing attacks on our health and planet.
Before the plan was announced, he posted Wednesday: "We should be strengthening rules that protect our environment and our economy from offshore oildrilling - not weaken them".
The administration announced a new five-year plan for energy leases in federal waters. Republican and Democratic governors of Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina, North Carolina, Delaware and Florida all opposed the proposal, the Washington Post reported, with many citing billion-dollar tourism industries dependent on their states' coastal beaches. The three states on the west coast of the United States have one of the moist coastlines in the entire United States.
Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott has also denounced this measure. Ed Markey, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio arguing that the government should extend an existing ban on oil development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico set to end in 2022 - not allow new leasing there. It prohibits the state from entering into any new leases within state tidelands.
Environmentalists have called it a gift to the oil and gas industry and warned of potential dangers. The Interior Department is proposing opening up 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gasdrilling.
The Arctic is remote and expensive, Pacific states such as California have vowed to block drilling, and other areas also harbor deep opposition from politicians, environmental groups and business interests anxious about spills. He also urged the Trump administration earlier this year to eliminate a national monument designation in his state.
Zinke emphasized that the draft plan could be narrowed in response to feedback from the public and politicians. But it's not yet certain whether drillers have much interest in dipping their toes into uncharted waters.
It's ludicrous. The United States can only achieve true energy dominance and security by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels.
"It's very important that people stand up, let their voices be heard, let the administration know that we're not willing to sacrifice our oceans for big oil", he says. And the National Ocean Industries Association, which represents energy companies, said that it "welcomes the bold and broad offshore leasing proposal released today by the Department of the Interior". Energy API said that through the year 2035, those leases could create 840,000 jobs, add about 3.5 million barrels a day to the country's energy production, generate more than $200 billion in new revenues to the federal government, lead to half a trillion dollars in new private-sector investment, and add more than $70 billion a year to the USA economy. He added that the USA has restricted offshore exploration as other countries including Canada and Mexico have stepped up their coastal activities.
The Trump administration intends to reopen oil and gas development off its shores, thus reverting to environmental protection provisions made by former President Barack Obama.
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