US President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order to allow offshore oil and gas drilling in previously off-limit areas.
The America-First Offshore Energy Strategy opens up large stretches of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans to fossil fuel exploration, as well as swathes of seabed in the US Gulf of Mexico.
The order, which is likely to please the oil industry and cause anger among environmentalists, reverses former President Barack Obama’s decision to place certain parts of the Atlantic and Arctic permanently off limits to oil and gas drilling.
President Trump said his predecessor’s rulings were hindering energy development without providing tangible benefits and assured the new Executive Order would improve US energy security, manufacturing and job growth.
He added: “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.
“This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth. I pledged to take action and today I am keeping that promise.”
Donald Trump previously signed an Executive Order rolling back Obama’s policies aimed at tackling climate change.