"This is a start on looking at American energy dominance and looking at our offshore assets and beginning a dialogue of when, how, where and how fast those offshore assets should be, or could be, developed", Zinke told reporters Thursday. That includes nearly the entire Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is proposing the biggest ever lease sale at a time when oil prices remain in a range that makes new offshore developments a questionable prospect.
West Coast elected officials were quick to condemn the plan.
"Certainly states and local communities have a voice, and Scott's been a great governor", Zinke said.
States control the first thee miles of shallow water, and the federal government has jurisdiction beyond that, explains Grady Hurley, an oilfield and maritime attorney at law firm Jones Walker. "The public wants them preserved and protected, not sold off to multinational oil companies". That's where they run into state and local jurisdictions.
How many rounds can the Trump vs. California fight go? These "onshore facilities" ordinances survived a legal challenge from an oil industry association in 1990.
The BSEE under Obama developed new standards to close what it viewed as gaps in the measures enacted in the wake of the BP oil spill in 2010. "I think there's going to be more pretty soon after today's announcement".
There still has to be a public comment period and other steps to be completed before the Trump administration's offshore drilling program could be made official, but that hasn't stopped environmental groups, lawmakers and regular Californians from criticizing the administration's vision for the coastline.
CNN's Christiane Amanpour recently asked Brown what California will do on its own and he had a ready list of actions the state has undertaken on its own. A similar proposal stalled past year. A companion bill, AB 1775, is being introduced by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). Then, his March executive order: "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth" ordered agencies to review (weaken or eliminate) existing energy regulations and policies "that potentially burden the production or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources".
Until the law expired January 1, the federal government collected a 9-cents-per-barrel tax on domestic and imported crude oil and imported petroleum products to fund the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which was established following the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989. They cite strong opposition, even from Republicans, to some ocean drilling, and they question whether oil companies will invest in expensive new offshore projects when there are abundant reserves in shale on the USA mainland. "Generally, the drillers" axiom is the shallower the rig, the cheaper the oil. Offshore exploration is especially risky and expensive because of the threat to tourism and wildlife.
In its 2017 forecast, World Oil, a leading industry magazine, observed that "the new Trump administration has... encouraged expectations that numerous recent federal regulatory and permitting challenges will be reconsidered and/or altered extensively".
The Draft Proposed Program includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas - 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 in the Atlantic Region.
"Opening these areas to drilling endangers sea life, including whales, dolphins and sea turtles, as well as the life and livelihoods of Californians and all Americans in coastal communities", said Dan Jacobson with Environment California.
At stake are some of the world's most pristine marine environments in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas, both of which are slated to be opened up for auction next year under Trump's drilling plan.