The Trump Administration’s offshore drilling expansion plan is reportedly on indefinite hold, according to U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s comments to the Wall Street Journal earlier today. The hold is due to ongoing legal action around the Administration’s decision to offer permanently-protected offshore areas for drilling, and last month a federal judge ruled that was illegal.
We hope that the Trump Administration does indeed stop developing its offshore drilling expansion plans, though in the absence of a formal conclusion to the proposed plan we must assume that the Administration will still advance its reckless drill-everywhere plan if legal opportunities arise. We’ll note that it has been more than a year since then-Secretary Ryan Zinke and former Florida Governor now U.S. Senator Rick Scott said there would be no drilling off of Florida’s coast, yet no official documents have guaranteed that promise either.
The Trump Administration’s drill-everywhere plan was outrageous from the get-go and should never have been proposed in the first place. It stands in clear defiance of both coastal residents and businesses who have clearly and unequivocally expressed opposition to offshore drilling. The massive, bipartisan opposition to offshore drilling is exemplified by more than 250 local governments along the East Coast which passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling and/or seismic exploration for offshore oil and gas.
Moreover, recently updated analysis shows that offshore drilling is set to become obsolete as the electric vehicle revolution accelerates in the coming years. Leaders should be planning for the clean, economical fuels of the future, not dwelling in the past with dirty, obsolete offshore drilling.
The Administration should follow the leadership of coastal states and formally conclude the development of the 2019-2024 offshore drilling program and follow suit by denying permits for Atlantic seismic blasting as well.