The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it will allow drilling in all U.S. waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic.
The Interior Department announced the plan and sais more than 3 billion barrels of oil is recoverable on the outer continental shelf, including more than 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. States will gain royalties from the extraction of such natural resources. The drilling would also create hundreds of jobs for Americans.
President Trump has consistently said that oil and gas exploration is part of his energy dominance agenda. The Trump administration, in fact, made history last month with its proposal to open nearly 77 million more acres in the Gulf of Mexico to companies wishing to buy federal oil and gas leases. It stands to be the largest offering in U.S. history.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, tasked with overseeing offshore leasing, vowed that the environment would be protected in the process. Interior’s counselor for energy policy Vincent DeVito said at that time: “American energy production can be competitive while remaining safe and environmentally sound. People need jobs, the Gulf Coast states need revenue, and Americans do not want to be dependent on foreign oil.”
The Interior Department also announced on Thursday that it suspended a study conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine on the safety of offshore oil and gas drilling platforms.
The previous Obama administration set in place a five-year moratorium on offshore drilling and exploration in the Atlantic.
The Trump administration’s plan of permitting the drilling now is being opposed by governors from New Jersey to Florida both Republicans and Democrats, several attorney generals, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers, and the Defense Department. New Jersey environmental groups have also aired their opposition to the plan.