"These ocean waters are not President Trump's personal playground. They belong to all Americans and the public wants them preserved and protected, not sold off to multinational oil companies," read a statement sent to IFLScience that was signed by leaders of the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, and other environmental groups.
More than 140 municipalities have publicly opposed offshore drilling activities in the Atlantic, the environmental group Oceana said in a statement.
Diane Hoskins, campaign director for the group, called the plan "absolutely radical" and "is a clear example of politics over people, ignoring widespread local and state opposition."
Supporters of the proposal, on the other hand, say it will create jobs and secure the United States as a major energy producer.
US Chamber on Global Energy Institute praised the proposal in a statement, saying it "unlocks the vast potential of American energy and expands [the] ability to export oil and gas to allies around the world." Continuing the plan will "help cement America's role as an energy superpower, creating jobs and contributing to [its] economy."
It should be noted that the new plan does not immediately clear drilling, and finalizing it could take up to 18 months. Challenges are also expected from the courts and congress.
"Nothing is final," Zinke added today at a news conference. "This is a draft program. The states, local communities and congressional delegations will all have a say" before the proposal becomes final.
The public has 60-days to comment on the proposed program, which is the first of two opportunities for public comment on the plan.
To comment on the proposal, go to the BOEM website. Comments will be accepted July 3 through August 17, 2018.