Obama Administration Cancels Plans For Atlantic Oil & Gas Drilling

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The Obama administration announced this week that the United States would abandon its plans for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters, due to strong opposition.

Arctic drilling (dn.no)Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, along with Abigail Ross Hopper, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, announced on Tuesday the Interior Department’s new offshore Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. The proposal follows “extensive public input” and the Department’s own analysis of scientific data, and only proposed 13 potential lease sales — 10 in the Gulf of Mexico and 3 off the coast of Alaska.

“This is a balanced proposal that protects sensitive resources and supports safe and responsible development of the nation’s domestic energy resources to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary Jewell.

“The proposal focuses potential lease sales in areas with the highest resource potential, greatest industry interest, and established infrastructure. At the same time, the proposal removes other areas from consideration for leasing, and seeks input on measures to further reduce potential impacts to the environment, coastal communities, and competing ocean and coastal uses, such as subsistence activities by Alaska Natives.”

The big news, therefore, was that the Interior Department would not be pursuing plans for oil and gas drilling in American Atlantic waters “due to current market dynamics, strong local opposition, and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean users.”

“We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic coast,” added Jewell. “When you factor in conflicts with national defense, economic activities such as fishing and tourism, and opposition from many local communities, it simply doesn’t make sense to move forward with any lease sales in the coming five years.”

The report follows a joint statement by US President Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau last week, which announced their principles for Arctic leadership. These principles included a commitment to ensure that any commercial activities that take place in the Arctic will adhere to the highest safety and environmental standards, including national and global climate and environmental goals, in addition to indigenous rights and agreements.

“We know the Arctic is a unique place of critical importance to many – including Alaska Natives who rely on the ocean for subsistence,” added Jewell. “As we put together the final proposal, we want to hear from the public to help determine whether these areas are appropriate for future leasing and how we can protect environmental, cultural and subsistence resources.”

The current series of leases are favored heavily in the Gulf of Mexico, “one of the most productive basins in the world,” according to the Interior Department.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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23 thoughts on “Obama Administration Cancels Plans For Atlantic Oil & Gas Drilling

  • Obama has come full circle from all of the above to none of that crap.

    • I’ll bet that was the plan all along. It was a brilliant ploy to quiet down the simple pyromaniacs.

      • pyromaniacs. Chuckle. 🙂

        • I’ve actually come to believe that most deniers, who have no financial gain from fossil fuels, have a primal commitment to fire that they cannot envision giving up.

          • Its something primal. And intelligence isnt. Emotion clouds reason.

          • Emotion is primal. My dog very plainly has lots of emotion. Not sure I could tell you the difference between his and mine. Also, it came first. It’s deeper.

          • Some say there is emotional intelligence too. Wonder what thats all about, eh?

          • So let them burn small wood bonfires in their backyard for entertainment or religious purposes. That should satisfy the “primal desire for fire”.

          • I suspect it’s years of their fossil fuel funded media telling that wind and solar can’t work. Now that they are seeing renewables work in red states like Texas, Oklahoma and South Dakota they’re having to question the line they’be been fed.

          • Money is always the great converter.

          • Nah, it’s more of a tribal mentality. Just like how individual parts of “Obamacare” are all pretty popular until you tell people it’s “Obamacare”, a lot of people support what’s in the Clean Power Plan until you tell them it’s Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

            It seems like a knee-jerk response summed up as “Hippies are wrong because reasons, therefore, Climate Change can’t be real!”

            The fact that Al Gore did a lot of the early awareness raising over 10 years ago only served to heighten the deniers’ tribal instincts.

          • You pretty much nailed it. It’s “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare!” deep thinking.

            Shallow people spoon fed talking points that they never think through.

          • I which it was just the “Hippies are wrong” much of anti-Obama anything has more to do with skin color than policy. A very sorry statement on the state of the country. It is the same reason many people are OK with the fact the Trump need time to study the KKK, before he says he doesn’t want their support.

      • Given Obama’s record of actually giving Republicans what they want on other issues, I don’t think it was the plan all along.

        I think the scientific consensus, the massive drops in solar and wind prices, and the giant oil glut, just overwhelmed the advocates of drilling in the administration. Thank goodness.

        • What did PBO give Republicans?

          • Permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts for the ultra-rich, for one thing. That was the Republican Party’s number one top priority.

            The NSA spying lunacy. The drone program. “Military tribunals”. Insane state secrets claims. I can list off other military-industrial complex garbage ad infinitum.

            The bank bailout, and the refusal to charge any of the bank executives with crimes, despite a very well documented list of violations of a *long* list of laws starting with mortgage registration and finishing with securities fraud.

            Do I really need to go on? Those are *big*.

          • The bank bailout was established under Bush. And, unfortunately, was necessary. Another depression would not have been enjoyable.

            No bankers were prosecuted because no laws were broken. New regs have been put in place.

            Drones. I suspect there have been far, far fewer civilian deaths than if we had put boots on the ground or sent manned aircraft over dropping bombs from altitude.

            The Patriot Act was put in place during the Bush administration.

            I hardly think PBO has wasted his presidency. I’ve taken a little time and investigated what he has accomplished. When you consider that he’s faced five years of a Republican Congress opposing everything he wanted to accomplish what he’s done is, IMHO, impressive.

      • I think PBO has generally avoiding unnecessary fights on all sorts of issues. Made no commitment before its time.

        All of the above while giving nuclear enough rope to hang itself and working with the EPA to strangle coal.

        • Exactly right. They call politicians leaders, and there is some truth to that, but there is the whole “will of the people” thing, so mostly they figure out what people want, and give it to them. Now the president can try and convince people of things, but can’t do too much until they are. They aren’t dictators.

          • Politicians can lead, but they can’t get too far out in front of where the greater populace is.

            The one thing I think PBO might have done better is put more effort into educating the general public about the reasons to make changes in how we do things. Far too few people understood why we needed to fix the healthcare system. Too few understand why we should be moving faster to renewables.

            I think he’s tried to educate but I think if he had put an ‘education team’ together they might have come up with better solutions.

  • Well, it’s good that they aren’t going ahead, but the fact is oil companies don’t want to go ahead with it at current oil prices. The number of exploratory wells drilled in the US has gone from I think hundreds a year down to somewhere around none.

    Sure oil prices are going to rise. It is inevitable given oil depletion of current fields is a fact. But if the writing is on the wall now that electric cars are going to destroy demand for oil, by the time oil gets back over $100 a barrel the writing will be all over the streets and pooling in the gutters.

  • Excellent news. Now, if Obama would just ban natural gas, we could continue on the path to get 100% electricity from wind, solar and geothermal power. Oklahoma has seen a 500% increase in earthquakes since it started natural gas fracking. We should leave all dirty fossil fuels in the ground, including natural gas, and focus on massively expanding our use of wind and solar power, like China is doing. We should also begin a massive movement to put solar on as many homes and businesses as we can. The more we decentralize the grid, the better we can deal with the intermittency issue.

  • This will last all the way until 2017. At which point, if oil company decide that they want access to Atlantic drilling, it will be open for debate again.

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