Addressing the elephant in the room

Trump administration to allow expanded drilling off US coast.

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According to the Washington Post the Trump administration plans to allow drilling off continental shelf waters. The Trump administration announced Thursday it’s plans to allow drilling of coast  including protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic, where oil and gas exploration is opposed by governors from New Jersey to Florida, nearly a dozen attorneys general, more than 100 U.S. lawmakers and the Defense Department.

More than 3 billion  barrels of crude are recoverable in these waters along with 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas according to the department of the interior, which announced the plans.

The plan faces a wave of bipartisan state opposition, led in part by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, who has said: “I’m not in favor of offshore drilling.” A catastrophe on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil leak in 2010 would be disastrous for one of the state’s most precious resources, the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is opposed out of concern over drilling’s impact on the state’s natural resources. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired off a letter to the Interior agency that issues permits saying the state “strongly opposes any waters off our coastline being considered for inclusion in this leasing program,” citing its $44 billion beach tourism industry that creates more than 300,000 jobs.

The Democratic governors of North Carolina and Delaware are also opposed. Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, where beach tourism on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts generates nearly $50 billion dollars and a half million jobs annually, according to a Florida Atlantic University report, said Thursday that he adamantly opposes drilling off the state’s coast and requested a meeting with Zinke.

The Obama administration considered a 5-year plan to permit drilling in the southern Atlantic between Virginia and Georgia but abandoned in March 2016 because of concerns raised by the Navy, which conducts military exercises in a vast area of the ocean near those states. A barrage of letters and comments from coastal communities opposed to the plan also played a role.

President Trump has made American energy dominance a centerpiece of his energy agenda. The administration made history last month opening another 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to companies wanting to purchase federal oil and gas leases, the largest offering in U.S. history. For the Trump administration to allow drilling in expanded waters will reduce American dependency on foreign oil.

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