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    US Aims to Open Nearly All Outer Continental Shelf to Oil Drilling

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced on Thursday the upcoming step in opening up the National Outer Continental Shelf for lease to advance oil and gas production, the Department of the Interior said in a press release.

    "US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the next step for responsibly developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024," the release said on Thursday.

    The move proposes to make more than "90 percent of the total Outer Continental Shelf acreage and more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development."

    Zinke explained the announcement signals the start of a lengthy public comment period to be used by the Trump administration to find a balance among concerns for environmental protection and public health and the goal to achieve US energy dominance.

    The release noted that the administration’s proposal includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas. Nineteen of the sales are off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and nine in the Atlantic region.

    The plan marks the largest number of lease sales to ever be proposed for the National Outer Continental Shelf program’s five-year lease schedule, the release said.

    Meanwhile, US Congressman Adam Schiff in a statement said the people of California will fight to preserve the state’s coasts and wilderness against the Trump administration’s policy to expand offshore drilling.

    "In California, we will fight to preserve the beauty of our coasts, the rugged wilderness of our national parks and the quality of our air and water," Schiff said in a Twitter post on Thursday. "If you’re not willing to help us… at least stay out of our way."

    Zinke’s order will reverse former President Barack Obama’s plan that made the Arctic and Atlantic oceans off-limits to drilling through 2022.

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    Tags:
    energy dominance, oil, exploration, concerns, public health, schedule, drilling, development, gas, environment, US Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, United States
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