On Thursday, the Trump administration revealed their intention to pursue American energy independence in a way that sent environmentalists into a frenzy. The Administration would allow off-shore drilling in most U.S. continental shelf waters, including the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.
The Interior Department pointed out that over three billion barrels of oil is recoverable on the outer continental shelf, along with more than 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. States will gain money and jobs from the intended drilling. The plan would make accessible 90% of offshore land for drilling as part of a five-year plan.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stated, "This is a draft program. Nothing is final yet, and our department is continuing to engage the American people to get to our final product." He pointed out, "We want to grow our nation’s offshore energy industry, instead of slowly surrendering it to foreign shores.” He added, “We’re going to become the strongest energy superpower. We certainly have the assets to do that.”
Some governors objected to the proposal, including Maryland’s Larry Hogan, South Carolina’s Henry McMaster, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, and Florida’s Rick Scott.
Last month, the Trump Administration proposed opening nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to companies looking to obtain federal oil and gas leases.
Leaders of the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters and other environmental groups released a statement asserting, "These ocean waters are not President Trump's personal playground. They belong to all Americans and the public wants them preserved and protected, not sold off to multinational oil companies."
Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, snapped, “Our natural heritage is not President Trump’s to plunder, and we will fight this reckless proposal in the courts and on Capitol Hill."