Advocacy group praises Trump's executive order on offshore drilling

Posted May 04, 2017

Monuments created during those years range from President Obama's designation of the 5,000-square-mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the New England coast in 2016 to President George W. Bush's early 2009 creation (and Obama's 2014 expansion) of the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument south and west of Hawaii - the largest marine protected area in the world. It could also lead to new oil leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, open up waters now closed, including those off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and a wide swath from New Jersey to the Canadian border.

Buelterman said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 makes his community wary of drilling.

"This executive order's intent to expand offshore oil drilling could threaten our and our children's way of life". Local economies that depend on the health of our environment and clean water also feel extreme pain.

"We're opening it up".

"With this executive order, the Trump administration is threatening the 1,100 miles of California coastline that the citizens of California own, and that we have fought to protect from special interests", said Tom Steyer, a top Democratic donor and the president of NextGen Climate, an environmental advocacy group. Such a move would have surely angered Republican allies in Florida and other Gulf states.

The secretary insists that expanding oil and gas development does not contradict the Interior Department's stewardship mandate for federal lands and waters.

Conservationists have long opposed oil drilling in the Arctic.

For his part, Zinke (who identified himself as a land-loving hunter and fisherman and "a Teddy Roosevelt guy") told reporters last night that Trump's latest executive order "will cement our nation's position as a global energy leader".

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Trump campaigned on making the United States more energy self-sufficient.

Nevertheless, the oil industry is praising the order.

In addition to requiring a new five-year drilling plan, the order reverses Obama's decision to place parts of the Arctic permanently off limits to drilling. "It reverses the previous administration's Arctic leasing ban and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our treasury and jobs to our workers".

Zinke said that leases scheduled under the existing plan will remain in effect during the review, which he estimated will take several years.

The provision to review marine monuments in the new order is interrelated with that order, Deborah Sivas, a professor of environmental law at Stanford Law School said in an email, as many of these monuments would need to be "rolled back before new leases could be issued lawfully". It could also include the Greater Farallones and Cordell Banks sanctuaries northwest of San Francisco, both of which Obama expanded.

"It's not quite as simple as the president signs something and it undoes the past", said Sean Hecht, a University of California, Los Angeles environmental law professor. Dianne Feinstein said to the LA Times.

"Exploration in this area is critical to our national security, and we continue to see our neighbors in Mexico and Cuba pursue these opportunities, said API President and CEO Jack Gerard".