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Dems ask for longer comment period on Trump’s offshore drilling plan

Dems ask for longer comment period on Trump’s offshore drilling plan

A group of Senate Democrats is asking the Trump administration to extend the comment period for its controversial offshore drilling plan.

Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Esper reportedly working with lawmakers to strip Confederate names from bases | Enemy attacks in Afghanistan jump by 50 percent, watchdog says | Fort Hood soldier arrested, charged in Chelsea Cheatham killing MORE (Wash.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led 22 colleagues in a Monday letter to Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior shortlist puts focus on New Mexico lawmakers | Progressives criticize Biden transition over volunteer who represented Exxon | Trump DOJ appointees stalled investigation into Zinke: report Trump DOJ appointees stalled investigation into Zinke: report GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race MORE seeking the extension.

Friday is the end of a two-month period in which the Interior Department is taking comments on its plan. The plan, released in January, floated drilling almost everywhere it could be legally allowed: along the entire Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as all around Alaska, except Bristol Bay.

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“Given the large scope of the Draft Proposed Program, we believe a 60-day extension of the deadline for comments is necessary to allow for more public hearings in coastal areas and to give the public sufficient time to submit comments on offshore drilling proposed for nearly the entire U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), encompassing over 90 percent of total OCS acreage — the largest number of potential offshore lease sales ever proposed,” the Democratic senators wrote.

The lawmakers also criticized the entire public input process, including events Interior has been holding in coastal states, and called for more input opportunities.

“The opportunity for the public to provide input on the Draft Proposed Program is critical given the new, large scope of the Draft Proposed Program and its potential impacts on coastal communities and economies, the marine environment, and climate,” they wrote.

“We do not believe that the 23 currently announced ‘open house’ style meeting are adequate in duration, location, nor format needed to meet the public input requirements.”