In April, President Trump ordered a review of Obama-era regulations governing where offshore oil exploration is allowed.
The Trump administration's plan to sharply expand offshore oil and gas drilling in USA -controlled waters in 47 leased sites off the West and East Coasts - including six off California - may yield yet another pitched battle between the Golden State and the federal government.
"This is a dramatic departure from previous policy", said Karen Harbert of the Global Energy Institute. "By comparison, the current program puts 94 percent of the OCS off limits". "This is an opportunity to open up more of those areas to supply growing demand".
The Interior Department released a new five-year drilling plan on Thursday that Secretary Ryan Zinke said would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore areas to leasing.
"This is a clear difference between energy weakness and energy dominance".
As administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt dismissed dozens of respected scientists from EPA science advisory boards and moved to replace them with industry-tied nonexperts. They saw that their government respond to their concerns when the Obama administration removed the Arctic and Atlantic seaboards from its offshore drilling plan.
"If you do think you have a discovery there, how are you going to get it to shore?" "We need to know the facts before we allow deep water drilling to continue".
Even within the Gulf of Mexico, there is limited infrastructure in the western region, said Imran Khan, who leads Wood Mackenzie's commercial valuation team for oil and gas projects in the Gulf. And by expanding the threat of drilling to almost all United States waters, this administration faces a tsunami of opposition from businesses, local leaders and activists on all our coasts. Offshore exploration is especially risky and expensive because of the threat to tourism and wildlife.
On Thursday, the Trump Administration moved to open up vast expanses of protected coastline for offshore drilling. Others suggest that the inevitable oil spill could be viewed in a positive light as responding to the spill could have a positive economic impact.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and ally of President Trump, blasted the proposal in a letter to the Interior Department previous year, saying it threatened his state's $44 billion beach tourism industry that employs 300,000 people.
All three governors on the U.S. West Coast oppose expanded offshore drilling, and on the East Coast, more than 140 municipalities have lodged their opposition. Figures compiled by the US Energy Information Administration ranks the United States' proven oil reserves at tenth globally, with an estimated 39,230 million barrels.
Not everyone sees it that way.
That kind of production is attractive in today's unpredictable oil market, where USA crude fell from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to a low of $26 in 2016 before bouncing around the $40 to $60 range previous year. As he left office in 2016, Obama issued a last-minute moratorium for most of the US coastline, including agreement with Ottawa on an Arctic drilling ban. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, and Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin, have proposed a resolution (SR 550 and HR 319) seeking to maintain a decades-long moratorium against oil drilling in an area of the eastern Gulf of Mexico used by the military for air and sea training.
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