Trump's Offshore Energy Order Could Impact Gulf of Mexico
"With this executive order, the Trump administration is threatening the 1,100 miles of California coastline that the citizens of California own, and that we have fought to protect from special interests", said Tom Steyer, a top Democratic donor and the president of NextGen Climate, an environmental advocacy group.
"This executive order starts the process of opening offshore areas to job-creating energy exploration", Trump said today before signing the order.
The U.S. was the world's biggest oil consumer in 2015 with an average 19.4 million barrels per day, according to BP's report. In other words, drillers will likely have to wait a while before they venture into the Arctic, if they even want to.
"Scientific consensus is that the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves - including the oil and gas off USA coasts_must remain undeveloped if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change", she said.
The order undoes former President Obama's ban on new offshore drilling leases in the Atlantic and Arctic, which was put in place during the final weeks of his term.
At the same time, increased domestic energy supply will lead to low energy prices, in turn benefiting citizens and reinvigorating USA manufacturing and job growth. Environmentalists say the section of law Obama used, known as 12-a, doesn't allow for a reversal. His administration has stopped defending Obama-era pollution regulations challenged in court.
In addition, under the order Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will review previous presidents' designations of marine national monuments and sanctuaries under the 1906 Antiquities Act over the last 10 years.
Reversing Obama's decision to withdraw Arctic and Atlantic waters from drilling is yet another Trump gift to the oil and gas industry.
"I believe that a president does not have the legal authority to do it", said UCLA's Hecht.
Today's executive order instructs the Department of the Interior to review locations for offshore oil and gas exploration and leasing that were put off limits by the Obama administration. Further, it could take years for Trump to unwind Obama's five-year drilling plan.
The review could take several years, so new offshore drilling won't pick up immediately.
Donald Trump's retro administration is taking another step backward by attempting to re-open parts of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, for offshore oil drilling. "But it is starting to change the lens through which government is talking about fossil fuels", Giblin said. And on Wednesday, he signed another executive order that could expand oil and gas development on wilderness areas now protected as national monuments. They deserve to see the benefits of developing these resources, including more jobs, higher wages, and a stronger economy.
Zinke said east coast lawmakers are keen to promote offshore wind and he is "optimistic" about its future.
More than 120 coastal cities and towns from New Jersey to Florida -including cities such Wilmington, North Carolina, Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia- have passed resolutions opposing any Atlantic drilling and seismic testing.
Buelterman said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 makes his community wary of drilling.