NEW YORK, NY – President Trump issued an Executive Order today that begins the process of vastly expanding offshore oil and gas drilling. Called “Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” it directs a re-write of the five-year plan for offshore oil and gas development, with the goal of opening up more areas to oil and gas leasing. The current five-year plan, which was finalized by the Obama administration in November 2016, excluded the Atlantic Ocean after widespread outcry from coastal communities. The executive order also seeks to reverse President Obama’s protection of parts of the Arctic Ocean from drilling and limits the ability of the Secretary of Commerce to designate new National Marine Sanctuaries.
The executive order may also lead to an expansion of oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico, which is still recovering from the devastating BP oil spill and is continually polluted by frequent smaller-scale oil leaks. Notably, the Taylor Energy oil leak has been creating a miles-long oil sheen for over a decade and the company claims that there simply is no way to stop the release of oil.
“This attempt to greatly expand offshore drilling into the Arctic and Atlantic is a blatant prioritization of fossil fuel profits over the health of our climate and coastal communities. President Trump is ignoring the cries of citizens who have said offshore drilling poses too great a threat to their economies and ways of life,” said Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “The oil industry has shown time and time again it is either unwilling or incapable of operating safely. More offshore drilling will only lead to more destructive oil spills.”
*Photo by John Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper