Trump's Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal Threatens 68 National Park Sites

Exceptions have since been granted to various states, but the proposal still presents a danger. am70/Shutterstock

Robin Andrews 28 May 2018, 15:07

The fact that the federal government is pushing for more oil at a time when decarbonized economies is clearly the way to go is a disappointment, particularly with regards to climate change. This report, then, reminds us that this counterproductive pivot toward fossil fuels, when put into practice, is also a threat to the US – ecologically, environmentally, socially and economically.

The NRDC and the NPCA are also indirectly reminding us of something else: The administration’s full-steam ahead proposal on offshore oil drilling shows flagrant disregard to the careful and considerate process normally used to assess such things.

As explained in this excellent video by Slate, every few years, the DOI reviews which areas of the coastline should be allowed to be drilled. The requests of each state are considered, and if the area is found to contain endangered species or is vital for the fishing industry, say, then it’s left off the permitted list.

This list itself tends to include only a handful of spots. In fact, several presidents have even placed moratoriums along parts of the coastline so drilling can never take place there. That’s why the Trump administration’s proposal to drill along all of the coastline, except for one small segment of it, came as an understandably unpleasant surprise for many.

The oil industry’s pressure has since transformed into jubilance, as well as ambitious economic projections – but they’re pretty much alone in that regard. Aghast at the proposal, states have been filing for exemptions and erecting legal barriers to varying degrees of success, which has led to very bitter disputes about bias and political favoritism.

Update: Originally, this referred to 68 National Parks, when it's actually National Park sites. Apologies for the error!

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