Trump administration moves to expand oil and gas drilling off United States coasts
13 January, 2018, 04:00 | Author: Mable Gonzales
"The expansion of offshore drilling faces strong opposition from representatives of both parties (Republican and Democrat), coastal communities, as well as state governors such as New Jersey, the Carolinas of North and South, Virginia and Florida, "said the Sierra Club, one of these leading organizations".
Independent experts are dubious.
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The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to development by private companies, Zinke said, with 47 leases proposed off the nation's coastlines from 2019 to 2024.
The proposal, outlined by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, would open up areas of the California coast that have been deemed off-limits to oil exploration for years.
The program also proposes the largest number of lease sales in US history for the National OCS Program's 5-year lease schedule.
The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Georgia to ME, where drilling has been blocked for decades.
But while industry groups applauded the announcement, new offshore drilling in these areas is unlikely to occur anytime soon and some have commented that this is a largely symbolic announcement (or even "grandstanding").
Trump's plan takes a wrecking ball to President Obama's environmental legacy. The American Petroleum Institute's Erik Milito said it would increase national energy security, encourage economic growth, help consumers and create thousands of new jobs.
A coalition of more than 60 environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would impose "severe and unacceptable harm" to America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.
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The proposal drew howls of protest from Republican and Democratic leaders in Florida, where offshore drilling is something of a third-rail political issue.
The governors of Washington, California and OR have also expressed their disapproval of the plan as they deem the decision to be a colossal threat to the fragile coast and the eco system of their states. The three states on the west coast of the United States have one of the moist coastlines in the entire United States. In a joint statement Thursday, California Gov.
The opposition towards the stem order has already begun with California Governor Jerry Brown joining the governors of OR and Washington and issuing a statement saying, "For more than 30 years, our shared coastline has been protected from further drilling, and we'll do whatever it takes to stop this reckless, shortsighted action".
Will the plan be approved? He also noted it was a draft proposal that could change after public input.
And how likely is a vote of public approval?
Seven new leases will be offered along the Pacific coast.
That also raises a fundamental question for oil and gas companies: Are they willing to invest in expensive projects with long timelines as some analysts project constrained global oil demand and an emergence of climate policies?
Steve Mashuda, the managing attorney of the oceans program at Earthjustice, says Florida simply has too much to lose.
"This disastrous and irresponsible proposal has the potential to devastate economies and environments up and down the east coast", said Blumenthal.
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