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

The Trump administration is set to open vast amounts of U.S. coastline for oil exploration.  Green heads are already exploding, as America's huge offshore oil reserves will now be available for exploitation.

Associated Press:

The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Florida to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades.  While some lawmakers in those states support offshore drilling, the plan drew immediate opposition from governors up and down the East Coast, including Republican [g]ovs. Rick Scott of Florida and Larry Hogan of Maryland, who pressed President Donald Trump to withdraw their states from consideration.

The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to development by private companies, Zinke said, with 47 leases proposed off the nation's coastlines from 2019 to 2024.  Nineteen sales would be off Alaska[;] 12 in the Gulf of Mexico[;] nine in the Atlantic[;] and seven in the Pacific, including six off California.

"This is a draft program," Zinke told reporters during a conference call.  "Nothing is final yet, and our department is continuing to engage the American people to get to our final product."

Industry groups praised the announcement, which would be the most expansive offshore drilling proposal in decades.  The proposal follows Trump's executive order in April encouraging more drilling rights in federal waters, part of the administration's strategy to help the U.S. achieve "energy dominance" in the global market.

"To kick off a national discussion, you need a national plan – something that has been lacking the past several years," said Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association.  President Barack Obama blocked Atlantic and Pacific drilling under a five-year plan finalized in 2016.

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.

We have been drilling offshore for seventy years, and while there have been some accidents, the amount of damage to "America's oceans, coastal economies, public health, and marine life" has been minimal.  Of course, care should be taken that the environment is not harmed excessively, and companies should be held completely liable for accidents.  But overall, the record of offshore drilling shows a safe process.

The returns on opening this much coastline to drilling will be phenomenal.  The U.S. has already reclaimed its position as the number-one producer of fossil fuels in the world.  As Secretary Zinke said, the plan will ensure U.S. energy dominance for the foreseeable future.

How realistic are the concerns of environmentalists?  The greens are fond of referring to "fragile Earth," as if our poor, helpless planet is too weak to withstand disasters like the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound and the Deepwater Horizon incident.  In fact, if our Earth were really that fragile, life would have been extinguished millions of years ago.  Our planet has withstood several mass extinctions caused by various catastrophic incidents far more deadly than oil spills.

The effects of meteor strikes or super-volcano eruptions can last thousands of years.  The effects from the Exxon-Valdez disaster have already mitigated, and the wildlife and marine life in the sound have almost completely recovered. 

Oil spills are bad and are usually caused by human stupidity or incompetence.  But it takes a lot more than a few million gallons of oil to "destroy" an ecosystem.  Environmentalist hysteria notwithstanding, the risk-reward from this drilling isn't even a close call.

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