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article imageTrump to sign orders expanding drilling in Arctic and Atlantic

By Karen Graham     Apr 28, 2017 in Environment
With one day left to rack up as many accomplishments within the first 100 days of his presidency as possible, Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that could lead to the expansion of offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans today.
The executive order would basically seek to reverse the environmental policies of former president Barack Obama in restricting offshore drilling for gas and oil, according to CTV News Canada. By Friday, Trump will have signed 32 executive orders, the most signed by any president in his first 100 days since WWII.
The order will direct the Department of the Interior to conduct a “review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration,” the White House said, according to Politico.
The order is also part of President Trump's promise to "unleash" the nation's energy reserves to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and to create jobs, despite the concerns by many over the harm that offshore drilling would cause to the environment and marine life.
Oil drilling in the Arctic
Oil drilling in the Arctic
L. Saubadu / A. Bommenel, abm/jj/gil, AFP
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters at a White House briefing Thursday evening, "This order will cement our nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy security for the benefit of American people, without removing any of the stringent environmental safeguards that are currently in place."
In December 2016, before leaving office, Obama took discussions over drilling in the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans off the table until 2022. The executive order will rescind that effort by the former president. Friday's order will direct the Interior Department to review Obama's blocking of drilling sites in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
The order could also open offshore exploration off the coasts of Virginia and North and South Carolina. Zinke said the review could take several years and until it is completed, nothing will be changed, adding that environmental concerns are "valid," even though the benefits of drilling outweigh the concerns.
The U.S. oil and gas industry is excited at the prospect of having more locations to drill for oil, despite the price per barrel remaining around $50. They still believe the price could rise, and they want to be prepared, just in case. “We’ve been advocating for expanded access to domestic energy resources for years,” said Erik Milito, upstream director at the American Petroleum Institute.
A blast on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 men and unleashed 134 million gallons of cru...
A blast on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 men and unleashed 134 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico
, US Coast Guard/AFP
Environmentalists are already planning to fight Trump at every turn, according to The Hill, citing the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that drilling offshore in the Atlantic, the Arctic, and even the Pacific is a bad business decision,” said Jackie Savitz, United States vice president at Oceana. And right now, looking at the petroleum industry as a whole, it really would make good business sense to leave additional offshore drilling in the cupboard for awhile longer.
More about Offshore drilling, Executive orders, First 100 days, Arctic, Atlantic
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