President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at lifting bans on offshore drilling in areas around the US including Arctic waters, despite low industry demand and environmental concerns.
The order could open up federally-owned land in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans alongside the Gulf of Mexico, which were protected by former President Barack Obama.
Trump signed the executive order, called the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, last Friday in a bid to extend offshore and gas drilling to areas that were previously off-limits. The president said this will boost domestic production and create “billions of dollars in wealth” and “thousands and thousands of jobs”.
The order will see a review and replacement of the Obama administration’s most recent five-year oil and gas development plan for the outer continental shelf. Obama, who was president during the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, had taken several measures to lock in additional environmental protections prior to his successor taking over.
For example, weeks before leaving office he used a 1953 law to ban drilling in much of the Arctic. This announcement was made with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and followed a climate pact seeking to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, develop clean energy and protect the Arctic.