An Expansion in Offshore Drilling?

An Expansion in Offshore Drilling?

The Trump administration has announced a plan to expand offshore drilling and gas leasing to nearly all U.S. waters and let the federal government auction off the rights to exploit areas that were previously permanently protected. It is the largest proposed expansion of offshore oil and gas leasing by the federal government. Under this proposed plan, there will be 47 lease sales between 2019 and 2024, including areas off the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the Pacific, and Atlantic coasts.

The announcement last week to expand offshore drilling and exploration could have a severe and disastrous effect on animals and humans. The habitat of fish is adversely affected by offshore drilling and after years of overfishing that has decimated populations, it could be a nail in some species coffin. Pollution from offshore drilling may also harm deep-water coral which needs years and years to grow. From oil spills to the impact of installing roads and infrastructure that is needed to extract and transport the oil, this announcement has the potential to have widespread impacts.

But while industry groups applauded the announcement, new offshore drilling in these areas is unlikely to occur anytime soon and some have commented that this is a largely symbolic announcement (or even “grandstanding”).

There is an abundant supply of cheap, accessible oil in Texas and North Dakota. New offshore drilling is extremely costly (and potentially extremely harmful to the environment).

The opposition to offshore drilling is strong. On the East Coast there are 141 municipalities and over 1,200 local, state, and federal elected officials that oppose offshore drilling and exploration. The governors of California, Washington, and Oregon have vowed to do whatever it takes to stop offshore oil leases. States do have the power to protect their coastlines. For instance in California, the state coastal commission reviews activities in federal waters and makes sure they are inline with state coastal management plans. Also, according to the Submerged Lands Act, coastal states control the 3 miles of water nearest to the shore all along their coasts (except Florida and Texas whose state waters extend 9 miles offshore). States therefore have the ability to deny permits to oil pipelines that connect platforms to land. States can also deny permits to transportation centers, refineries, or holding stations.



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7 Comments

  1. Teri J Wilson

    NO MORE DRILLING FOR OIL!!! WE NEED CLEAN ENERGY, TIME TO SPEND THE MONEY ON THAT AND LEAVE OUR WILDLIFE AND OCEANS ALONE!!!

    Reply Report comment
  2. Gayle Shumate

    Florida received an exemption. Guess Donald doesn’t want an oil spill lapping at the shores of Mar-a-Tacky but’s okay to destroy the beaches & resort properties of other states. Who needs clean air & water anyway? As for the animals, they’re losers, who cares. The Donald & people like him don’t make money off of them so they don’t matter. We need to go renewable, solar & wind power but the big oil companies that buy our politicians are endlessly greedy & they will never have enough & that’s all that matters to them. They don’t care about all of the small businesses that were lost when the Deepwater Horizon blew up & killed people & destroyed fishing, tourism & estuaries. Our voices will be heard at the ballot box.

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  3. Juliette Smith

    Money mongering miserable murders!

    Reply Report comment
  4. Elaine Lombardi

    How long is it going to take to get rid of the moron in the oval office?

    Reply Report comment
  5. Kathryn Aldridge

    And it’s even WORSE than that! This is what I just posted on my FB page:
    This is what happened while we were all talking about the book, Fire and Fury, and the Golden Globes.

    A Chinese oil tanker collided with another ship and caught fire. And it continues to burn. It may burn out, or it may explode. It is carrying almost a million barrels of oil which, if it sinks, will create an oil spill three times bigger than the Exxon Valdez.

    After the Exxon Valdez spill, Congress established the ‘Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund’ which is funded by a 9 cent per barrel tax. Congressional Republicans just allowed that tax to expire, cutting off funding for oil-spill response since that was its main source of revenue.

    This happened at the same time that the Trump Administration cut the safety regulations that were designed to prevent oil spills. They got rid of two rules because they were “overly burdensome to the industry”.

    And all this, in tandem with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior announcing that it will open up the entire East and West Coasts, as well as Alaska, to offshore drilling. These are areas which have been protected for decades. Fortunately, the governors of ALL affected states have expressed their disapproval of the new drilling ‘rules’.

    The Trump Administration seems hell-bent on destroying the planet.

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  6. bev

    WHAT IS THE IDIOT TRUMP DOING TO RUIN THE USA THIS TIME??? I’d say it’s more than past time to impeach him. Really … “it will be a wonderful thing, just wonderful”!

    Reply Report comment
  7. Leanne

    Has the Trump administration learned nothing from the past. Have they learned nothing from the BP disaster of 2010 or the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989? Thank goodness some of the coastal states are stepping up to the plate here.

    Reply Report comment

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