In order to “unleash American energy”, President Trump signed an executive order with a goal to reduce restrictions on oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic.
According to Trump, this would create “thousands and thousands” of jobs, even though there is a downturn in the oil market.
This could eliminate the ban which Obama put in order to protect swathes of the ocean from development.
According to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, this decision was better than being held hostage by “foreign entities”.
During the campaign, Trump promised to remove Obama’s environmental protections, and now he is keeping his promise.
“Our country’s blessed with incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil and natural gas reserves, but the federal government has kept 94% of these offshore areas closed to exploration and production, “stated Trump.
“This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth.”
As the order instructs, the US Department of Interior has to come up with a new development plan for all federal waters off US coasts.
It is still unclear how much income might be generated by reversing Obama’s order. Worldwide prices for oil have dropped in recent years, with a review by news agency Reuters finding the amount of money oil companies spent in the central Gulf of Mexico’s annual lease sale dropped by more than 75% between 2012 and 2017.
In the meantime, environmental groups already started opposing Trump’s decision.
“The Trump administration’s hasty move today toward expanding offshore oil drilling … defies market realities and is as reckless as it is unnecessary,” stated David Jenkins, president of Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, a non-profit conservation group.