Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Trump signs order aimed at opening Arctic drilling

In nod to oil industry, Trump to order review of offshore drilling bans Trump To Sign Executive Order On Offshore Drilling And Marine Sanctuaries
Craig Ferguson | 10 May, 2017, 04:14

Zinke said he has two years to conduct the review and the current plan will remain in effect for now.

"Developing our abundant offshore energy resources is a critical part of a robust, forward-looking energy policy that will secure our nation's energy future and strengthen the US energy renaissance", said Jack Gerard, the CEO of the industry group, American Petroleum Institute, in a statement.

In addition to reversing the Arctic drilling ban, Trump said the order would 'allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our treasury and jobs to our workers'. White House officials said in December that the language of the statute provides no authority for subsequent presidents to undo so-called permanent withdrawals of oil and gas leases from the Outer Continental Shelf. Let me be clear: that would be a huge, bad, stupid mistake. "Instead of bringing dirty and risky offshore drilling to new areas, we need a winning strategy focused on promoting renewable energy sources like offshore wind, which would produce twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic".

Trump had campaigned on a promise to do away with Obama-era environmental protections that he said were hobbling energy development and undermining US national security without providing any tangible benefits, cheering industry but enraging environmental advocates.

According to the governor, the previous administration (2009-2017) closed access to the oil drilling in 94 percent of the continental shelf.

Once implemented, Trump's order will open Arctic waters north of Alaska as well as areas off the Atlantic coast.

But API President Jack Gerard welcomed the executive order.

While some, notably Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, believe that the removal of drilling bans will stimulate not just the oil industry but also the wider USA economy, others are skeptical.

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At the same time, increased domestic energy supply will lead to low energy prices, in turn benefiting citizens and reinvigorating US manufacturing and job growth.

The oil and gas industry welcomed the move.

President David Holt said: "By considering new opportunities to develop America's abundant offshore energy resources, today's action will help cement American energy security for decades to come". Environmental groups have promised strong opposition.

"President Trump and his administration are marching us down an unprecedented path - filled with conflict and risk".

Along the Atlantic coast, though, more than 100 cities and towns have passed resolutions against offshore drilling. Earlier, he sharply limited areas throughout the Pacific where drilling could be considered with an expansion of marine sanctuaries including large areas off Hawaii and in the Gulf of the Farallones.

"More drilling will also set us back in our fight against climate change, shackling us to the heavily polluting fossil fuels of the last century, driving more carbon pollution and slowing America's transition to clean energy".

At the state level, late Friday morning Santa Barbara state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson announced she and other lawmakers are introducing legislation in response.

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