Working to dismantle his predecessor's environmental legacy, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Friday that could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
Trump signed an executive order calling for the review during a ceremony at the White House. The move sets in motion a potential reversal of President Barack Obama's last-minute attempts to withdraw vast swaths of US waters from lease sales to fossil fuel companies. Under current restrictions, about 94 percent of that outer continental shelf is off limits to drilling.
A group representing 40 native Alaskan tribes has severely criticized US President Donald Trump's new executive order that paves the way for oil drilling in the Arctic.
Among the order's targets is the most recent five-year drilling plan covering 2017-22, issued by Obama's administration in November, which bars offshore drilling in a number of adjacent waters.
Environmental activists, meanwhile, railed against the expected signing, which comes seven years after the devastating 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action. There was also his administration's last-minute Hail Mary, employing the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to legally ban offshore drilling off large parts of the Atlantic coast and in the Arctic Ocean, citing critical protection for marine mammals, ecological resources, and native populations.
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The Southern Environmental Law Center and Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast said in a news release they were rallying against Trump's desire to open the Atlantic Coast to drilling. Environmental groups are already saying the order is illegal, and it's nearly certain it will be challenged in court, like several other orders Trump has signed.
Like with national monuments, marine sanctuaries are protected from contamination and commercial exploitation.
Obama also quadrupled in size Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, an area that stretches over vast sections of coral reef and relatively undisturbed ocean northwest of Hawaii that former President George W. Bush first set aside as a monument. President Trump gets this. Further, it could take years for Trump to unwind Obama's five-year drilling plan.
While Trump vowed to pull the US out of the agreement during his campaign, the administration has not yet signaled whether it plans to do so. "But it is starting to change the lens through which government is talking about fossil fuels", she said. As arguments go, this one's pretty flimsy even for the disorderly Trump administration. But it was mourned by those in the oil industry in Alaska as well as many outside it who recognized the decline of other traditional fields and the desirability of keeping petroleum prospects healthy in the state.
"Drilling for oil and gas offshore puts coastal communities at risk, and burning oil and gas anywhere puts the future of our planet at risk", added Bonin.
Scores of coastal parks nationwide could be affected, either by oil rigs on the horizon or spills following an accident, according to the National Parks Conservation Association, a nongovernmental organization that promotes the parks.