President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order on Friday that the administration said will begin to expand offshore drilling and energy independence. The order, titled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” will direct a “review of the locations available for off-shore oil and gas exploration,” as well as other related government regulations.
President Trump’s policy could open up oil and gas exploration off Virginia and North and South Carolina, where drilling has been blocked for decades. It also begins to undo a late-term Obama era policy banning leasing in the Arctic for drilling.
“Today we’re unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs,” The President said in his announcement. “Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil and natural gas reserves. But the federal government has kept 94% of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production.”
It also directs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a full review of the locations available for offshore drilling, which fell under the five-year ban signed by Mr. Obama in November. In December, after his party was defeated soundly in the elections, effort by President Obama to deem the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic as indefinitely off limits to oil and gas leasing.
“This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth,” he added.