Off-Shore drilling might soon be the way of the future. In a new proposal released Thursday, the Trump administration proposed the opening of 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf off the U.S. coast to off-shore drilling.
“Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources including abundant offshore oil and natural gas resources, but the federal government has kept 94 percent of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production,” Trump said back in April.
The five-year proposal is the “largest single expansion of off-shore drilling activity ever proposed,” according to USA Today.
“This is a start (of) American energy dominance,” Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretary said to reporters on a conference call. “And looking at our offshore assets, beginning a dialogue of when, how, where and how fast those offshore assets should be or could be developed.”
The expansion would include off-shore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic, according to Natural Resources Defense Council. It would override the current leasing program that was put in place by President Obama and, in turn, open up 47 potential lease sales around the Outer Continental Shelf, according to USA Today.
“President Trump is once again defying a majority of American citizens, states, and businesses,” Al Gore, former vice president, tweeted. “His offshore drilling proposal threatens our coastal communities, just to prop up a dying fossil fuel industry.”
President Trump made the argument that the U.S. is being deprived of “thousands of jobs and billions in wealth.” And manufacturing and business interests are applauding the proposal saying it is a much needed boost to the U.S. economy.
But many environmental groups have denounced the proposal because of the affects it would have on climate change and maritime ecosystems.
“This radical offshore drilling free-for-all is a clear example of politics over people, ignoring widespread local and state opposition,” Diane Hoskins, campaign director for Oceana, said.
While the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said that “American energy production can be competitive while remaining safe and environmentally sound,” the Interior Department recently put a stop to a study being conducted on the “safety of offshore oil and gas drilling platforms” by National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, according to The Washington Post.
The Trump administration will soon welcome public comments on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) proposal.