Trump Opens the Door For More Disastrous Oil Spills


Tim Canova
Chair, Progress For All

Today, alongside his Big Oil cronies and climate-denier cabinet, President Trump will sign a sweeping executive order that rescinds an Obama-era regulation, thereby lifting a permanent ban to open up protected waters in the Arctic (115 million acres) and Atlantic (3.8 million acres) ocean to offshore drilling.

In an unprecedented move late last year, President Obama announced that he was putting hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned waters in the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean off limits “indefinitely” for future oil and gas drilling. President Obama used an obscure provision of the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act of 1953. No President has ever acted to reverse an indefinite withdrawal of federally owned waters from oil and gas drilling – until now! It is not clear that Trump can unilaterally reverse this regulation – but it is clear that a GOP controlled Congress can rescind the Obama protection through congressional legislation action – exactly what the Trump Administration and the fossil fuel industry are banking on.

Trump is also expected to open the door to new oil and natural gas drilling in Pacific waters despite the fact that the Pacific coast has been closed to new oil and gas exploration since the destructive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California in 1969.

Environmental groups warn that just opening the door to oil drilling in pristine federal lands and waters could lead to more tragic spills like the Deep Water Horizon BP/Shell oil spill in 2010 that dumped 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and along the coasts – killing wildlife and destroying fragile ecosystems.

A June 2016 Greenpeace report found that proposed expansion of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico would result in climate related costs of between $58 billion and $179 billion – enough to outweigh any so-called economic benefits of getting fossil fuel energy.

What we need is a green New Deal to sustain our planet for future generations by helping to convert our economy from carbon-based energy to sustainable and renewable sources, such as solar and wind.

We will keep fighting to protect our environment and stand up to the fossil fuel industry and other corporate polluters that put profits over the health and safety of real people.

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