US opens up majority of its coast for oil drilling

The US has announced plans to open up nearly the entirety of its coast for oil and gas drilling. Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior for the Trump Administration, […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The US has announced plans to open up nearly the entirety of its coast for oil and gas drilling.

Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior for the Trump Administration, said a new leasing programme running from 2019 to 2024 would include several areas of the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans that have previously been protected.

The plan would make more than 90% of the outer continental shelf available for nearly 50 lease sales to fossil fuel companies by reversing protections put in place by the Obama administration.

It would be the first time drilling could take place on the Atlantic seaboard.

Leading figures from a number of coastal states have expressed concerns regarding the potential impact upon marine ecosystems and tourism and fishing-based economies.

Mr Zinke said: “We want to grow our nation’s offshore energy industry, instead of slowly surrendering it to foreign shores.

“This is a clear difference between energy weakness and energy dominance. Under President Trump we’re going to have the strongest energy policies and be the strongest energy superpower.”

The plan will be open to a 60-day period of public comment.