Already Donald Trump’s administration is following through on his so-called America First Energy Plan, which really seems to be the Oil and Gas First Energy Plan. This week the Department of the Interior announced the proposed sale of 73 million acres of federal waters in offshore Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. This sale is slated to include “all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico” for fossil fuel exploration and development.
On his WhiteHouse.gov energy page, the Trump administration said, “Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America.” It appears they’re following through on that claim, with the sale scheduled for August 16, 2017. The 73 million acres could yield between 0.211 and 1.118 billion oil barrels and between 0.547 and 4.424 trillion cubic feet of gas.
In a statement, recently sworn-in Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, “Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent. The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states, and local communities, to create jobs and home-grown energy and to reduce our dependence of foreign oil.”
Somehow Trump still forgets to acknowledge the potential of clean energy, in terms of jobs and energy produced in the United States. His administration also shouldn’t forget a certain massive, destructive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Department of the Interior statement does say sale terms “include stipulations to protect biologically sensitive resources, mitigate potential adverse effects on protected species, and avoid potential conflicts associated with oil and gas development in the region,” but it would be hard for them to guarantee an oil spill won’t occur.
The Independent reports Barack Obama’s administration approved a similar proposal to lease millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico, but before leaving office the former president did ban drilling along the Atlantic coastline and in the Arctic.
Via The Independent