Trump to sign orders expanding drilling in Arctic and Atlantic

Adjust Comment Print

The "America-First Offshore Energy Strategy" aims to clear the path for offshore drilling in millions of acres of federal waters for oil and gas leasing - areas Obama had attempted to protect in the waning days of his presidency.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday will order a review of offshore areas now off limits to oil and gas drilling to determine which might be reopened, in his administration's latest move to expand domestic energy production.

In the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Trump said the United States is blessed with wonderful natural resources, including offshore oil and natural gas reserves, which can be harnessed to stimulate energy production and job growth.

Trump campaigned on a promise to do away with Obama-era environmental protections that he said were hobbling energy development and undermining USA national security without providing any tangible benefits.

US President Donald Trump is on the cusp of signing an executive order that would expand offshore oil and gas drilling moments after Congress voted to pass a spending bill that averted a government shutdown.

Diana Best of Greenpeace said that opening new areas to offshore oil and gas drilling would lock the U.S.

Some analysts, as quoted by CNN, also note that it is not lack of access to new oil and gas reserves that is hobbling the energy industry; it was low global prices brought about by the shale revolution. Under current restrictions, about 94 percent of that outer continental shelf is off limits to drilling. That's because Obama indefinitely banned some of the areas from drilling under a 1953 law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

RELATEDTrump's offshore oil move already facing legal challenge
RELATEDTrump's offshore oil move already facing legal challenge

The order calls for a review of off-shore locations available for oil and gas exploration.

"When Deepwater Horizon exploded, Floridians saw firsthand the catastrophic consequences of offshore drilling", U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Florida Democrat, said in a statement.

Coastal business leaders oppose offshore drilling in the Atlantic because it's a job killer, not a job creator. Among those actions are a move to reopen and maintain hundreds of US coal mines, an attempt to scrap fuel mileage regulations for future American-made vehicles, and the revocation of a federal law that targeted corruption in the energy industry. In addition, it bars the creation or expansion of marine sanctuaries and orders a review of all areas protected within the last 10 years.

"That's one concern, is an environmental concern, relative to marine life", said Tybee Island mayor Jason Buelterman.

Rhea Suh, President of the NRDC Action Fund, said Trump's attempt to reverse Barack Obama's actions is disastrous. However, she said, they realize the limitations of it.

The president was surrounded by energy industry representatives and politicians from oil producing states as he signed the order.

"And generally I can tell ya', all of us should get anxious about last minute actions from an administration", Zinke said.

Blanchett, Minchin score Tony nods
The acting categories saw nominations for Bette Midler, Kevin Kline, Josh Groban, Danny DeVito and Cate Blanchett . Cox previously received a Tony Award nomination in 2014 in the same category for her work on the play "Machinal".