President Donald Trump is following through with his executive order last year to expand offshore drilling in areas previously off-limits to big oil.
“It's not only the economic security, it's the national security of doing more at home,” says Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “It provides long-range supplies of energy and energy feed stocks for our petrochemical industry as well.”
The Interior Department is now working on a five-year plan to include nearly all of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf that is sure to draw resistance from environmentalists.
“Even before the blowout in the Gulf, the East Coast and California were already off-limits,” says Dr. H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow on environmental policy at the Heartland Institute. “Politicians put short-term political gain ahead of the needs of the nation.”
A final proposal is expected in the coming months.
“Even during the leasing and exploration phase, even if they weren't to find any oil, people would spend billions of dollars looking for it,” Kish argues.
Burnett agrees, saying exploriation alone will boost the economies of regions previously untouched by the oil industry.
“Workers have to go out of somewhere on ships, come back into somewhere to stay on the down town,” he says. “Just like everybody else, they're buying food, eating at restaurants and going to the movies.”