Energy & Environment

Trump to seek offshore drilling expansion


President Trump is preparing an executive order to start undoing former President Obama’s restrictions on offshore drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees offshore drilling, told an industry conference about the upcoming order Thursday, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources in attendance.

The order would direct the Interior Department to rewrite Obama’s five-year schedule for lease sales between 2017 and 2022, which left out any drilling in the Arctic or Atlantic oceans, and to add some sales in those areas.

{mosads}It would also begin the process of undoing Obama’s actions to indefinitely block drilling in certain areas of the Arctic and Atlantic, Bloomberg reported. The former president used a little-known provision in law to do that last year, and his administration argued that the action could not be undone by Trump.

The actions would fit within Trump’s pledges on the campaign trail and since taking office to increase domestic energy production, particularly of fossil fuels.

He signed a wide-ranging executive order last week to undo nearly all of Obama’s climate policies. That order also directed Interior and other agencies to find policies that inhibit domestic energy production and use and to work to undo them.

Rewriting the five-year plan would require an extensive Interior Department process with multiple steps that could take years.

It took the Obama administration about two years to write its five-year plan, which included 10 leases in the Gulf of Mexico but left other areas out completely.

Under the five-year plan process set forth by Congress, Interior can only hold lease sales that are on the schedule, and no additional ones, unless it rewrites the plan.

Tags Interior Department Natural gas Offshore drilling oil Ryan Zinke
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