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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 CantwellDemocrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Hillicon Valley: Senate panel votes to subpoena Big Tech executives | Amazon says over 19,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19 | Democrats demand DHS release report warning of election interference Senate panel votes to subpoena Big Tech executives 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 Zinke5 major ways that Interior slashed protections for wildlife  Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina Conspicuous by their absence from the Republican Convention 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.”