Winning: Trump to open huge swaths of coastline for oil drilling

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is expected to announce the new plan Thursday afternoon, according to a departmental press release, which comes nine months after Trump issued an executive order prioritizing "energy exploration and order to maintain the nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy security and resilience for the benefit of the American people".

Environmental groups call the plan "dirty" and "dangerous".

When the Obama Administration announced plans to open up the Atlantic to drilling in 2016, the City of Beaufort was the first municipality in SC to pass a resolution in opposition.

"Saying that I'm excited about the Trump Administration's new draft five-year plan for oil & gas leasing would be a major understatement".

A coalition of more than 60 environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would impose "severe and unacceptable harm" to America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.

"The waters off the mouth of the Chesapeake are as much a part of the bay system as all the fresh-water rivers that feed it", Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker said in a statement.

The Trump Administration Thursday issued a massive and controversial proposal to open vast areas along the nation's coastlines to offshore drilling, including Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Environmental groups say oil exploration and development would only increase the risk of another risky spill. The accident on BP's Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest offshore oil spill in US history. The rules require more frequent inspections of those and other devices and dictate that experts onshore monitor drilling of highly complex wells in real time.

Members of the S.C. House of Representative formed a subcommittee past year to look at the pros and cons of leases for offshore testing and drilling.

Diane Hoskins, campaign director at the national environmental organization, said the plan completely disregards the opinions of local stakeholders along the coast. "Will we allow Florida's white beaches or the popular and pristine Outer Banks to share a similar fate?"

Several Palmetto State politicians have also voiced concern that a spill from the drilling could cripple the state's tourism economy. The impact of this decision even extends to the Pacific region.

In California, "we do have plenty of opportunity to fight these new oil developments and we will pursue all those avenues", said Linda Krop, legal counsel for the same group. "My top priority is to ensure that Florida's natural resources are protected", Scott said. "It must be opposed to the fullest extent that is legally possible".

Mr Zinke's announcement comes a week after the Department of the Interior released a proposal to ease offshore drilling safety regulations that were created in the wake of BP's deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. Virtually all commercial fishing near Santa Barbara was halted, and tourism dropped dramatically.

The proposal also includes seven lease sales off the Pacific, including off all of California, Washington and OR where leasing is opposed by West Coast governors, numerous coastal communities and has not occurred since 1984.

In California, where no new federal leases offshore have been approved since 1984, Gov. "For more than 30 years, our shared coastline has been protected from further drilling and we'll do whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action".

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