President Donald Trump is preparing to issue an executive order with the goal of giving oil companies more opportunities to drill offshore, reversing Obama-era policies that restricted the activity.
The offshore drilling directive is set to be issued soon.The coming order is set to push the Interior Department to schedule sales of new offshore oil and natural gas rights in U.S. Atlantic and Arctic waters, amending a five-year Obama administration leasing plan that left out auctions there, according to an industry representative who has discussed it with officials.
The order is also expected to begin the process of revoking former President Barack Obama’s decision to indefinitely withdraw most U.S. Arctic waters and some Atlantic Ocean acreage from future leasing. Environmentalists say it would be unprecedented for any president to rescind such a designation, and the reversal would almost certainly be challenged in court.
Although liberal environmentalists are going to start freaking out about this, but as economist Nicholas Loris pointed out, this is really a step toward making the U.S. energy independent.
He said that it will help the environment because he says you will see a “reduction of oil and gas seepage due to decreases in sub sea oil-reservoir pressure.”
Trump’s move could benefit energy companies that now are focusing their U.S. offshore drilling programs on the Gulf of Mexico, including Royal Dutch Shell,Chevron Crop., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Statoil
The Obama administration previously had considered selling leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as well as 104 million acres of the mid- and south-Atlantic before ultimately foregoing those potential auctions. Though time consuming, restoring Arctic and Atlantic lease sales would be relatively straightforward.
But the Trump administration faces a bigger challenge in attempting to undo Obama’s decision to remove roughly 125 million Arctic acres and nearly 4 million acres in the Atlantic Ocean from future oil and gas leasing. Obama formalized those withdrawals by invoking an obscure provision in a 1953 law that does not explicitly give presidents the power to reverse previous designations.