Environmental advocates oppose Trump offshore drilling plan

Hannah Rogers
January 13, 2018

Rules requiring third-party inspections of safety equipment would also be repealed. There is no oil shortage that requires more drilling. This followed a similar order issued in August by the Interior Department suspending a study by the same organization on the impact of surface coal mining operations on the health of residents in central Appalachia.

There are significant reserves of oil and gas in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, but current measures of technically recoverable resources in the Gulf of Mexico are far larger, according to figures from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the arm of the Interior Department that oversees leasing in the USA outer continental shelf. At approximately 77 million acres, roughly the size of New Mexico, the sale would be the largest in United States history.

"Every Floridian remembers what happened to us when the beaches of Pensacola Beach were blackened with tar and oil, and we lost a whole season of our guests, our tourists who come to this extraordinary state", Nelson said, vowing to "do everything I can to defeat" President Donald Trump's plan. "Generally, the drillers" axiom is the shallower the rig, the cheaper the oil. And the president is seeking to shrink national marine sanctuaries such as Monterey Bay, the Channel Islands and the Greater Farrallones, which are protected under federal law from drilling. "It puts irreplaceable wildlife and coastal communities at risk for the sole benefit of big oil, and it takes us in exactly the wrong direction on the urgently needed transition to a clean energy future". Included in the proposal are multiple regions off of the Alaskan coast that have always been targeted by energy companies.

The Obama administration considered a five-year plan to permit drilling in the southern Atlantic between Virginia and Georgia but abandoned it in March 2016 because of concerns raised by the Navy, which conducts military exercises in a vast area of the ocean near those states. He pointed to a Wood Mackenzie study released last month that showed the emergence of electric vehicles would displace 1.8 million barrels per day of oil demand in 2035. "Even if global demand were to remain flat, continuous investment - including robust lease sales and new exploration - will be required to keep pace". Mel Martinez, R-Fla., brokered a deal to ban drilling off Florida's Gulf Coast through 2022. No new leases have been granted in the Pacific since 1984.

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Under the Trump administration's proposal, over 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf would be available for oil and gas drilling, including parts of the Gulf of Mexico now protected by a congressional moratorium. The comments echo Zinke's boss, President Trump, who made carbon-based energy a major theme of his campaign and has spent his time in office rolling back various energy and environmental regulations.

The notion that the United States can free itself from the need to import foreign oil by increasing domestic production is false. In fact, if our earth was really that fragile, life would have been extinguished millions of years ago.Our planet has withstood several mass extinctions caused by various catastrophic incidents far more deadly than oil spills.

"This moves America in the wrong direction and has the potential to have a negative lasting effect on our oceans as well as the shorelines of states on these coasts", Reichert said.

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