Long road ahead for Trump offshore drilling order

Offshore rig oil and gas exploration

According to Democratic lawmakers from the Golden State, an executive order signed by Trump on Friday will lead to renewed oil drilling off the California coast by rescinding longtime restrictions.

Hours after Trump signed the order, California state Sen.

"We need smart, tough standards to ensure that energy companies are not operating out of control", she said, adding: "In their absence, America's future promises more oil spills and industrialized coastlines". With a whopping 94 percent of our outer continental shelf now locked away from oil and gas development, a thorough review of the regulatory framework governing our offshore energy resources is warranted and logical.

And environmental law and policy experts questioned Trump's authority to reverse Obama's withdrawal of certain areas in the Arctic or Atlantic to drilling, a question that will likely be decided in the courts.

Zinke said Trump's order will also instruct him to review the five-year offshore leasing plan.

In this sense, Trump authorizes Zinke to consider the possibility of repealing or changing "onerous regulations that delay the creation of employment". In late December, he used the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to bar energy exploration off part of the Atlantic coast and in large swaths of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in Alaska.

"President Trump's executive order threatens our beaches, harbors and waterways, and we must stand up to protect our environment by fighting his destructive and risky action", said Councilman Mike Bonin, who introduced the motion. "I can guarantee you there will be litigation over this by the state of California, probably by us (Natural Resources Defense Council) and by other environmental groups", Pettit said. It also calls for a sweeping review of national marine sanctuaries.


While Trump vowed to pull the USA out of the agreement during his campaign, the administration has not yet signaled whether it plans to do so. Nonetheless, Trump's order Friday requires the Interior Department to review the oil and gas potential of marine sanctuaries Obama created and expanded. As arguments go, this one's pretty flimsy even for the disorderly Trump administration. For Trump, however, the drilling bans are an obstacle standing in the way of energy independence.

The Arctic could see more oil drilling because of the order.

.

Congress can still stop this catastrophe-in-the-making, she says, by passing legislation that will put the Arctic and Atlantic, and all American coastal waters, permanently off-limits to Big Oil.

But the plan faces broad opposition from the fishing industry, tourism groups and even the US military, which has said Atlantic offshore drilling could hurt military maneuvers and interfere with missile tests the Navy relies on to protect the East Coast.

An anti-drilling rally is being held today in Virginia Beach. Some of the regulations against drilling were put in place by Obama after the Deepwater Horizon disaster spilled 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

Zinke said he has recently heard concerns about offshore drilling in Santa Barbara, California, and promised that he will listen to local communities when it comes to authorizing drilling.

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