US to lift ban on offshore drilling

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s administration has announced plans to roll back a ban on new offshore drilling off the coasts of Florida and California and was considering over 40 sites for leasing of natural gas and oil production, the media reported.
Thursday’s proposal comes just after the Interior Department issued a stop-work order on a National Academy of Sciences study reviewing the offshore oil and gas operations inspection programme to enhance safety, reports CNN.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that 47 proposed leasing areas could increase federal revenue by $15 billion.
“It’s better to produce energy here and never be held hostage by foreign enemy needs,” Zinke said, adding it was a “clear difference between energy weakness and energy dominance”. The five-year proposal would increase drilling sites off the coasts of Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico and it would reinstate leasing sites in Pacific and Atlantic waters.
The announcement was met with immediate concern from environmental groups and from Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, who released a statement asking to have waters off Florida’s coastline removed from consideration, reports CNN.
Zinke, however, said the proposal would not move forward without state and congressional feedback, but refused to say that states would have the power to veto drilling off their own shores. — IANS