The Trump administration plans to achieve “energy dominance” by replacing the Obama administration’s offshore energy plan with one that opens more areas to oil and gas drilling, according to officials.
The new plan will open “more areas for offshore exploration,” Vincent DeVito, energy policy adviser to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, told reporters on a press call Thursday. That includes oil, gas and wind development.
DeVito said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management would ask for public comment on how the new program should operate. When the plan is finished, it will replace the Obama administration’s five-year drilling that was finalized in
This week is “Energy Week” at the White House, and the Trump administration has been busy upping the rhetoric from pursuing “energy independence” to “energy dominance.” Officials see offshore oil and gas drilling as a way to boost energy production.
“It keeps prices low for American families and businesses,” Katharine MacGregor, acting assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Interior Department, said on the call.
“We need to be growing this model,” MacGregor said, adding offshore energy develop supports 300,000 jobs.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April to boost offshore energy production and overturn a ban on oil and gas drilling in most U.S. portions of the Arctic Ocean. The ban was put in place in the last months of the Obama administration.
Trump ordered the Interior Department to review regulations and permits for offshore drilling, which will likely take a few years and not change the current offshore leasing plan. The order prevented the Commerce Department from designating new marine national monuments.
Ninety-four percent of U.S. offshore areas are off-limits to all development. Offshore areas are estimated to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 127 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
So far, Trump administration has leased 990,157 acres of offshore areas, generating nearly $278 million in high bids revenues. Most of this revenue was raised from leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
Environmentalists have opposed offshore drilling, and were largely successful convincing the Obama administration to restrict offshore areas put up for sale. Trump’s plan is sure to draw legal challenges from activists.
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