President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order in the very near future that will reverse policies implemented by former President Barack Obama that heavily restricted offshore drilling.
According to Bloomberg, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made the announcement Thursday at a closed-door meeting with the National Ocean Industries Association.
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The coming order is set to push the Interior Department to schedule sales of new offshore oil and natural gas rights in U.S. Atlantic and Arctic waters, amending a five-year Obama administration leasing plan that left out auctions there, according to an industry representative who has discussed it with officials.
The order is also expected to begin the process of revoking former President Barack Obama’s decision to indefinitely withdraw most U.S. Arctic waters and some Atlantic Ocean acreage from future leasing. Environmentalists say it would be unprecedented for any president to rescind such a designation, and the reversal would almost certainly be challenged in court.
The action would fulfill campaign promises Trump made last year when he routinely vowed that under a Trump administration, the U.S. would increase domestic energy production, which includes offshore drilling for crude oil and natural gas.
Trump already signed an executive order last week to undo nearly all of Obama's climate policies. The order also directed the Interior Department and other government agencies to proactively find ways to undo Obama-era climate policy.
However, it will likely take a year or two to completely rid the government of Obama's drilling lease plan, given its complexity and deep roots. But it will be worth it considering the billions of crude oil reserves that are ripe for harvest.