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Zinke announces largest offshore drilling expansion in US history


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced his plans to to greatly expand the areas available for offshore oil and natural gas drilling, including all areas off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

As production of US oil is currently at an all time high, and prices are near historic lows, the Trump Administration somehow reasoned even more oil was needed.

In 1975 Congress passed a law forbidding the export of US produced oil.  This came about shortly after the OPEC oil embargo which caused the US to go into a recession.  For years the US did not produce enough oil to supply it”s demand, and the thought was that we needed to keep every drop to protect our interests.

For many reasons, US production of oil dramatically increased from 2005-2015.  The discovery and development of new oil fields, as well as advancements in technology such as fracking dramatically increased output.  The increase was so substantial that in late 2015 many in congress thought that production would soon exceed demand, and that exporting excess production would be justified.  The exporting of US oil began in 2016 and has continued ever since.

In 2017 the US exported about 1.3 million barrels of oil every day, or about 15% of the total production.  More oil is being produced than is consumed, and subsequently the price is at near historic lows.

Zinke’s announcement instantly came under fire. Environmentalists slammed the proposal as a giveaway to the oil industry. “The Trump administration’s dramatic expansion of offshore oil drilling is beyond reckless,” said Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director at the League of Conservation Voters.  “Seaside communities, businesses, and elected officials from both parties have consistently opposed risky offshore drilling because of the grave threat it poses to their way of life, our climate, and local economies that rely on tourism and fishing,” he said.  “This radical offshore drilling free-for-all is a clear example of politics over people, ignoring widespread local and state opposition,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana.


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