Democrat members of the House Natural Resources Committee are pushing for a permanent ban on all offshore oil and gas leasing in Atlantic and Pacific federal waters as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Oil and Gas Journal reports, citing a forum that took place on Wednesday.
According to people present at the forum, the Democrat legislators were not satisfied with President Donald Trump’s extension of an already existing moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, to be in force from 2022 to 2032. These terms, in the view of the Democratic representatives, were not good enough.
Some of those present at the forum expressed suspicions that Trump was politically motivated in the extension of the drilling moratorium as it spans states that could swing the election. What’s more, they noted that the President had warned he could reverse the ban whenever he wants, arguing this is reason enough to make the ban permanent by passing a law to that effect.
Meanwhile, legislators from Virginia asked Trump in September to add their state to the list of states where offshore drilling will be banned for another 12 years. They argued that industries in Virginia would be affected negatively if the state was not included.
The offshore drilling ban is, in fact, something of an exemption for coastal states from a plan that dates back to 2018 and proposes opening up as much as 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gas exploration. Unsurprisingly, the program has attracted a lot of opposition, including from Republican coastal states. What’s perhaps more interesting, however, is that it will now attract opposition from the renewable energy lobby because the ban also involves drilling for offshore wind power installations along the East Coast.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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