Despite Trump's assertion that the nation needs to wean itself of foreign oil, US oil imports have declined in recent years as domestic production boomed amid improved drilling techniques opening up once unreachable areas. Bipartisan opposition from state leaders was already building.
"President Trump is taking aim at expanding this dirty and unsafe industry into new areas like the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico", Jacqueline Savitz, senior Vice President for Oceana, an ocean conservation organisation, said in a statement.
In an executive order Friday, the president reversed the Obama administration's decision to prohibit oil and gas drilling in the Arctic waters off Alaska.
He's also told reporters it will foster energy security.
To be sure, a host of factors play a role in whether or not territory is put up for lease, including local support, industry interest, oil prices and availability of current geological data.
Trump's order could also reopen the door to the use of seismic surveys by energy companies to map potential drilling sites for oil and natural gas elsewhere in the Atlantic.
It's also not clear whether the Trump administration can reverse a separate offshore drilling ban that Obama announced a month before leaving office. The 2010 gulf oil disaster had dramatic effects on the environment and tourism. Energy has been a focus since day one and the war on coal is over, he said to applause. Petersburg. "Spills don't just devastate ecosystems". His administration said the action could not be undone by a future president, though it could by Congress. Mel Martinez pushed into law in the past decade.
In preparation for Trump's moves, a California state lawmaker, Sen.
Nelson and Democratic U.S. Reps.
An official at trade group American Petroleum Institute did not respond to a request for comment about offshore lease demand.
Zinke addressed these concerns head-on, promising to keep in place safety and environmental protects, which he said are among the strongest in the world, even as Trump has moved to reduce other Obama-era environmental regulations in other areas.
Friday's action follows an executive order issued Wednesday calling on Zinke to review 20 years of national monument designations.
"It is better to produce energy here than be held hostage by foreign entities", interior secretary Ryan Zinke said on Thursday in a briefing about the executive order, which will be called the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy. With a whopping 94 percent of our outer continental shelf now locked away from oil and gas development, a thorough review of the regulatory framework governing our offshore energy resources is warranted and logical.
Zinke, who will also be tasked with reviewing other drilling restrictions, acknowledged environmental concerns as "valid", but he argued that the benefits of drilling outweigh concerns.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.