Trump Moves To Vastly Expand Offshore Drilling

The Associated Press reports:

The Trump administration on Thursday moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off the California coast for the first time in more than three decades.

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 Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. Many lawmakers in those states support offshore drilling, although the Democratic governors of North Carolina and Virginia oppose drilling off their state coasts.

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 between 2019 and 2024. Nineteen sales would be off the coast of Alaska, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, nine in the Atlantic and seven in the Pacific, including six off California’s coast.

The New York Times reports:

The drilling plan comes on the heels of a separate proposal to repeal offshore drilling safety regulations that were put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, as well as a decision by Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.

Environmentalists said they expected several states to fight the plan and denounced it as a giveaway to the oil and gas industries.

Diane Hoskins, campaign director for the nonprofit group Oceana, called the blueprint “absolutely radical” and said the administration was also ignoring the opposition of the governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Oregon and Washington.