Despite government shutdown, Trump administration continues to work with the gas and oil indistries on offshore drilling
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, under the direction of acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, has issued a revised contingency plan ordering as many as 40 Interior Department personnel to continue work on the Trump administration’s revised five-year offshore leasing plan during the partial government shutdown. The agency said the move necessary to “comply with the Administration’s America First energy strategy.”
Earthjustice, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Natural Resources Defense Council are critical of the move.
“As the American people experience the painful effects of the Trump Shutdown, the administration is busy serving the oil and gas industry," the groups said in a joint statement Thursday. "Instead of working with Congress to end the longest government furlough in American history, the Trump administration is prioritizing a radical, unpopular plan to subject America’s coasts to more offshore drilling. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is asking dozens of employees to return to work at the behest of oil and gas industry lobbyists.
“Ignoring public health, scientific consensus, and bipartisan opposition has been a trademark of the Trump administration.
“Shocking the conscience is everyday fare for the Trump administration. But it is a new level of ‘dirty’ to pursue reckless and dangerous offshore drilling while thousands of federal employees go without pay, national parks are vandalized and shuttered, forest fire-prevention funds are being diverted, and the nation’s food supply goes without proper inspection.”
The current draft of the Trump administration’s plan ignores widespread, bipartisan public opposition to offshore leasing, radically expanding drilling in new areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Arctic waters, and attempts to auction off permanently protected areas, the groups said.