Trump bars offshore oil drilling in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina
United States President Donald Trump has signed a memorandum to bar offshore oil and gas drilling in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina State coasts.
The executive memorandum adds ten more years to the existing ban in Florida and extends to two more state coasts of Georgia and South Carolina in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
Analysts said the MoU Trump signed in Florida on Tuesday is an unusual action against the fossil fuel industry from an administration that has made global energy dominance a priority.
The order drew cynicism from environmentalists and a big shock from the oil and gas industry, but Republicans in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina now approved the ban order on drilling off their state coasts.
Of the states, Florida determines a significant decision in November’s presidential election, especially with the polls there placing Trump in an extremely close race with his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“This protects your beautiful Gulf and your beautiful ocean, and it will for a long time to come,” Trump said.
Extending the moratorium is the wrong approach at the wrong time, according to vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry trade group, Lem Smith.
“A ban on responsible energy development in the Eastern Gulf and the South Atlantic puts at risk hundreds of thousands of new jobs, U.S. energy security advancements and billions of dollars in critical revenue for states,” Smith said in a statement.
The Trump administration had previously targeted opening of more than 90% of U.S. coastal waters to fossil fuel development, but those plans met a political resistance, including from the Republican governors of all three southern U.S. states covered by the new executive memorandum.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, speaks against the executive ban during a news conference at the Justice Department.
“This is a transparent attempt to manipulate Floridians two months before Election Day,” said Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council and former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama.
“If President Trump wanted to protect the state’s beaches and waters from destruction, he would deep-six [dispose of] his five-year leasing plan to open up every coast in the country for drilling, and he would stop doing everything in his power to make the climate crisis worse,” McCarthy said.
The Trump administration has severed the agreement to regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and vehicles, including the change on how the federal government calculates the impacts of those emissions, which has reduced the apparent benefits of climate regulations.
As it stands, the United States under President Trump is the only country in the world to announce plans to withdraw from the U.N.-brokered Paris agreement on climate change.
Shortly after assuming power, Trump issued an executive order that lifted the Obama administration’s ban on offshore drilling in the Arctic and North Atlantic.
A federal court in Alaska struck out that order last March, leaving the administration’s offshore drilling plans unbalanced ever since.
On Tuesday, Trump described himself as “the great environmentalist” at Florida signing event.
The White House released a statement promoting Trump’s environmental record, including cleaning up hazardous waste sites and funding improvements in drinking water infrastructure.
Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden expressed his surprise at the Trump’s decision to ban responsible energy development in the Eastern Gulf and the South Atlantic.
“Now, with 56 days until the election, he conveniently says that he changed his mind. Unbelievable,” Biden wrote on Twitter.