President Trump, in decreeing that the federal government will dramatically expand drilling off the coasts of most states, once again demonstrates his disdain for the environment and his determination to satisfy the greed of big oil.
Trump's “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” will make millions of acres of federal waters eligible for oil and gas leasing.
Doesn't matter that such drilling would endanger our seas, our fisheries, our beaches and potentially devastate the economic well-being of coastal communities from Maine to Alaska. His focus, clearly, is on generating as much oil and natural gas as possible regardless of the consequences.
And, once again, Trump has targeted another of President Obama's key actions. In late December 2016, Obama used a provision in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to bar energy exploration in large portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and in canyons in the Atlantic stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia.
In addition, Trump's announcement followed the announced rollback of rules by the Department of the Interior that were established after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. Eleven oil rig workers died and millions of gallons of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, causing widespread environmental devastation.
Following the spill, the Obama administration proposed rules requiring third-party certifications of equipment used on oil rigs, expanded failure reporting requirements, and new system design safety requirements among other things. The Trump administration says these requirements are too burdensome for oil drillers.
Trump's announcement this past week was met with a chorus of opposition from coastal state governors and lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican and pal of Trump. What can they do beyond complaining and raising hell in the media?
Here's an article that explains some strategies that could be used if those governors have the guts to stand up to Trump on behalf of their own citizens. We'll see.
Meanwhile, once again are witnessing the impact of greed in federal government policy under this president. It just never stops.