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Winning: Trump to open huge swaths of coastline for oil drilling

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Offshore oil rig near Santa Barbara

In a decision that might turn out to be a nightmare, the President of the United States Donald Trump has ordered that drilling be allowed in almost all offshore waters of the United States.

The administration's broad approach may be strategic because it could force environmental activists to divide their resources and fight proposed drilling off all USA coasts - not just in the eastern Gulf, Arctic waters and the Atlantic Ocean where oil companies are believed to be most interested.

"By proposing to open these areas for consideration, the Secretary ensures that he will receive public input and analysis on all of the available OCS to better inform future decisions on the National OCS Program. This is an opportunity to open up more of those areas to supply growing demand".

The Draft Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Programme would expand drilling to 90% of the United States outer continental shelf, including protected areas in the Arctic, the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Energy-exploration companies say drilling technology is more advanced and safer than ever.

Reaction from New Jersey environmental groups was swift.

Oil industry advocates argue companies need fresh territory beyond the Gulf of Mexico, where drilling has been ongoing for decades and the quest for crude has driven them into deeper waters.

"In the current commodity pricing environment, I don't see a lot of appetite on laying down new infrastructure", he told CNBC.

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This proposal comes after President Trump issued an executive order last April, where he encouraged the granting of permits to execute drilling in federal waters, as part of his strategy to achieve "energy dominance" in the world market. It was expected that this change was positively accepted by the oil industry, but received strong opposition from environmental organizations and even representatives of the Republican Party.

However, overcoming opposition on both coasts will be hard. Offshore exploration is especially risky and expensive because of the threat to tourism and wildlife.

We have been drilling offshore for 70 years and while there have been some accidents, the amount of damage to "America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life" has been minimal.

Twelve leases are nominated for the Gulf of Mexico.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott asked for an immediate meeting with Zinke.

In December, the EPA announced it will hold three public listening sessions on its plan to kill the Clean Power Plan, prompted by complaints that the single public hearing last month in Charleston, West Virginia, was woefully inadequate.

"Californians will never let this happen", said U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif.

That kind of production is attractive in today's unpredictable oil market, where US crude fell from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to a low of $26 in 2016 before bouncing around the $40 to $60 range a year ago. Dianne Feinstein said Trump's "reckless "drill, baby, drill" approach threatens our oceans and coasts". Those regulations banned oil drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast and the coast of Alaska. Combined with instability in oil-producing countries like Iran and Venezuela, Charters said, there's plenty of reason to believe new investments will be needed. The American Petroleum Institute's Erik Milito said it would increase national energy security, encourage economic growth, help consumers and create thousands of new jobs. We're working together with the stakeholders.

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