The Trump administration is proposing a massive expansion of offshore oil and natural gas drilling that will encompass nearly all of the nation’s outer continental shelf, including areas off the coasts of Maine, California, Florida and Alaska.
The plan is part of President Trump’s order last year seeking to boost domestic oil and natural gas production to create “energy dominance” and unlock the nation’s “great energy wealth.”
The Hill added:
Thursday’s announcement was just one of three major steps the administration must take to write a new plan for offshore drilling rights sales.
After taking public comments on the proposal, officials must revise it and put out a new proposal and then finalize it, a process that could take more than a year. At each of those steps, Interior can remove areas from consideration for drilling, but cannot make new areas available.
Environmentalists slammed the proposal, calling it “radical,” “risky,” and “beyond reckless.”
“The Trump administration’s dramatic expansion of offshore oil drilling is beyond reckless,” said Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director at the League of Conservation Voters.
“Seaside communities, businesses, and elected officials from both parties have consistently opposed risky offshore drilling because of the grave threat it poses to their way of life, our climate, and local economies that rely on tourism and fishing,” he said.
“This radical offshore drilling free-for-all is a clear example of politics over people, ignoring widespread local and state opposition,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana.
The announcement also received some Republican opposition.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said he opposes any move that allows drilling near his state.
“I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration,” Scott said in a statement.