What does Donald Trump see when you present him with an ecologically fragile part of the world, complete with protective restrictions on oil and gas drilling imposed by Barack Obama last December?
Dollar signs. Drill, baby, drill.
In an executive order to be signed today, Trump will end those restrictions and open up Arctic waters to potential drilling. Per The Independent:
The executive order will instruct the Interior Department to take a look at the policies put into place by Mr Obama, who signed off on the most recent drilling lease period that ends in 2022 in November, restricting offshore drilling on the entire Atlantic and much of the Arctic Ocean.
It’s not just the Arctic, either. Federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico will also be opened to “exploration,” which essentially means the Department of Interior will “review” Obama’s policies, and because it’s led by Trump appointees, they’ll inevitably conclude that drilling is a-okay. And that’s not all:
Trump’s executive order will also direct the Commerce Department to review all marine sanctuaries created or expanded in the past 10 years and report back to the White House in three months.
As WaPo notes, there’s more preventing drilling in the Arctic than Obama’s (now void) protections, including local resistance and the difficulty inherent to drilling in the area, which brings the economic viability into question.
Even so, it’s the latest step in Trump’s ongoing attempts to destroy any remnant of environmental protectionism established under Obama, and will inevitably lead to further exploitation of at-risk sections of the American ecosystem.