Long road ahead for Trump offshore drilling order

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Zinke said the order will require him to review and replace the Obama administration's most recent five-year oil and gas development plan for the outercontinental shelf, which comprises federal waters off all USA coasts.

The order reverses the previous United States administration's ban on new offshore drilling leases in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, which was approved in late December by former President Barack Obama.

In addition to reversing the Arctic drilling ban, Trump said the order would 'allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our treasury and jobs to our workers'. The order is also part of President Trump's promise to "unleash" the nation's energy reserves to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and to create jobs, despite the concerns by many over the harm that offshore drilling would cause to the environment and marine life. "I urge the Trump administration to reverse course and put the well-being of our coastal communities above oil industry profits".

However, by reviewing the current five-year plan for the Outer Continental Shelf, the Interior Department could open up waters now closed, including those off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and a wide swath from New Jersey to the Canadian border.

The Atlantic waters placed off-limits to new oil and gas leasing are 31 canyons stretching from the coast of New England south to Virginia.

Moreover, the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, as the executive order is called, arrives at a time when industry demand for offshore leasing is nearing the lowest level in years, as onshore production and low oil prices have taken a toll.

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California Gov. Jerry Brown joined fellow Democratic governors in the other West Coast states in railing against the president's executive order Thursday night in response to news that the president would revise offshore drilling regulations. Should the Interior Department approve drilling in waters now protected under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, then the Trump administration will likely face litigation, experts told NPR.

"President Trump and his administration are marching us down an unprecedented path - filled with conflict and risk". This provision questions the presidential authority provided by the Antiquities Act of 1906 - the same federal law Trump targeted earlier this week with hopes of nixing national monument proclamations made by former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The plan listed 10 leases in the Gulf of Mexico and another near Alaska for drilling, but - more significantly, experts say - it removed parts of the Arctic from availability.

Zinke will also review current regulations and permit requirements for offshore drilling and seismic research. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said at a news conference Friday.

President David Holt said: "By considering new opportunities to develop America's abundant offshore energy resources, today's action will help cement American energy security for decades to come".

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