By Barry Eitel and Ovunc Kutlu
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that aims to expand offshore drilling for crude oil and natural gas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
The order calls for a review of off-shore locations available for oil and gas exploration.
“Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil and natural gas reserves,” Trump said in remarks before signing the order.
“But the federal government has kept 94 percent of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production. This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth.”
The order is the latest in a string of recent attempts to dismantle the environmental policy legacy of Trump's predecessor, President Barack Obama.
In March, Trump signed another order that hampers the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era strategy to decrease U.S. carbon emissions by 2030.
On Wednesday, Trump called for a review of wilderness areas that were declared national monuments over the past 20 years, an order with the goal of possibly opening up these areas to oil drilling and mining.
Opponents of increased off-shore drilling immediately responded to Friday's signing.
“We will vigorously oppose new drilling off the shores of our coast,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement after Trump signed the order.
“California is leading the way in clean energy production and policies that preserve our state’s pristine natural resources. Instead of taking us backwards, the federal government should work with us to advance the clean energy economy that’s creating jobs, providing energy and preserving California’s natural beauty.”
Ahead of his 100th day in power on Saturday, the order is part of Trump's efforts to fulfill his promise to "unleash American energy" to create jobs and end the country's dependence on foreign oil.
The U.S. ranked ninth in the world at the end of 2014 for total proved oil reserves with 55 billion barrels, and fifth for the most natural gas reserves with 10.4 trillion cubic meters, according to British Petroleum's (BP) Statistical Review of World Energy report published last June.
The U.S. was the world's biggest oil consumer in 2015 with an average 19.4 million barrels per day, according to BP's report. This constituted over 20 percent of the global oil consumption of 95 million barrels a day in 2015.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.