Environmental groups sue Trump administration over offshore drilling
Trump signs order authorizing offshore oil drilling Play Video3:34Live Video Please enable flash to watch this video.
Trump signs order authorizing offshore oil drilling Play Video3:34Live Video 00:00 00:00 buildnumber:0299c0 A coalition of environmental groups on Wednesday sued the Trump administration over its efforts to expand offshore drilling, arguing the move violates the president’s legal authority, threatens a multitude of wildlife and could harm the fishing and tourism industries.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Alaska, comes days after President Trump signed an executive order aimed at jump-starting offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, as well as assessing whether energy exploration can take place in marine sanctuaries in the Pacific and Atlantic.
The policy could open millions of acres of federal waters for oil and gas leasing, just months after President Barack Obama withdrew the areas from possible development.
At a signing Friday in the Roosevelt Room, Trump emphasized that the United States has abundant offshore oil and gas reserves and made clear his intention to tap them if possible.
It notes that Obama used his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Acts to permanently end drilling in much of the Arctic and key parts of the Atlantic but says that no president has ever undone or reversed such a decision and that the law “does not authorize the president to reopen withdrawn areas.” “The permanent protections President Obama established for the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans were won with years of research, lobbying and organizing,” Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement.
“Offshore drilling and the associated threat of devastating oil spills puts coastal economies and ways of life at risk while worsening the consequences of climate change.
That said, the administration and supporters of the president’s approach have argued that future oil demand and prices remain uncertain and that the country ought to keep open the option to drill offshore.
Wednesday’s lawsuit marks the latest effort by activists to challenge the Trump administration’s energy and environmental policies in the courts.
Also Wednesday, the Sierra Club and other groups sued the head of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency over a recent decision to halt an Obama-era regulation aimed at limiting the dumping of toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury by the nation’s power plants into public waterways.