Trump aims to open almost all United States offshore waters to oil drilling

The Trump administration announced Thursday it would also allow offshore oil drilling in almost all USA waters, including the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico.

Prospects for drilling off the Atlantic Coast are moving forward on a more ambitious scale with the announcement by the Secretary of the Interior that a five-year plan includes "the largest number of lease sales in US history".

While all three of the West Coast governors are Democrats aligned with environmentalists, criticism also came from Florida Republicans.

"Gambling with tourism, Florida's No. 1 industry, and risking the lives of our birds and wildlife are only a few of the unsafe risks of offshore drilling", she said in a statement. The proposal highlights the Trump administration's desire to make the energy superpower with a massive expansion of drilling.

The "draft offshore leasing plan continues the Trump administration's all-out assault on public lands and waters", said Trim Van Noppen of Earthjustice.

In a statement, Scott said he requested a meeting with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke because such a plan would negatively impact Florida's natural resources.

The proposal is a drastic shift from the plan put in place by the Obama administration and was to extend from 2017 to 2022.

The Trump Administration on Thursday proposed opening up 98% of USA waters for oil exploration.

The entire process could possibly take a year or more to fine-tune.

Of course, the happiest were the interested industrial groups.

. "If the President will not change course, Congress should act swiftly to block this risky expansion of offshore drilling". The plan doesn't allow drilling around Hawaii or USA territories.

"We want to grow our nation's offshore energy industry, instead of slowly surrendering it to foreign shores", Zinke said, noting that the plan is part of President Donald Trump's "American energy dominance" agenda. In the past, he and other prominent Palmetto State Republicans - such as Gov. Henry McMaster and Rep. Tom Rice - have opposed offshore drilling.

Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus also were quick to oppose the drilling proposal, calling it reckless, irresponsible and a threat to local communities and ecosystems.

A former California Coastal Commission General Counsel, Ralph Faust, said that no chance would be economically reasonable for the federal government to lease or even drill oil along the Californian coast.

The five-year proposal is subject to a 60-day public comment period.

  • Joanne Flowers