Thursday, January 04, 2018

Trump Opens Offshore to Oil Biz

The Trump Department of Interior has announced that it will offer oil leases for
exploiting almost all of the US outer continental shelf including the Arctic and the Atlantic.  Up until now, drilling has been curtailed out of environmental concerns.  The Department  says about 94% of the US continental shelf is closed to oil exploration and development. The expected action will inevitably endanger sea life, and is contrary to public opinion on the subject.  Communities along the Atlantic seaboard and in California have passed resolutions against offshore drilling which is inherently dangerous and dirty.  Most of the Arctic coast has been protected until now. The draft plan proposes 19 lease sales in the Alaska Region (3 in the Chukchi Sea, 3 in the Beaufort Sea, 2 in Cook Inlet, and 1 sale each in 11 other program areas in Alaska.   The DOI announcement says the most leases in history will be put up for bid beginning in 2019 in an effort Secretary Zinke calls achieving "American energy dominance". 

The process for opening up 90% of the outer continental shelf will begin with the drafting of a programmatic environmental impact statement during which time the public will have the opportunity to submit comments.  Public hearings are scheduled to begin this month.  Remember the Deepwater Horizon!