Sep 9, 2020 - Energy & Environment
The yin-yang of Trump's drilling policy
It would be easy to feel some whiplash over recent Trump administration moves on oil-and-gas industry access — or lack thereof — to areas currently off-limits.
Driving the news: Trump used a Tuesday stop in Florida — a swing state with a huge electoral vote bounty — to announce an order that keeps the eastern Gulf of Mexico off-limits through 2032.
- Florida's East Coast is a no-go zone too.
- The same order — reversing earlier administration plans — also bars leasing off the Atlantic shores of Georgia and South Carolina.
The intrigue: The move comes roughly three weeks after the administration touted its plans under a 2017 law to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
- It's an area where industry interest in expensive, remote projects could prove tepid.
- Yet the eastern Gulf, adjacent to the heart of the U.S. offshore drilling industry in Louisiana and Texas, has long been coveted by the sector.
- Oil industry groups, in a somewhat rare split with Trump, yesterday criticized the decision.
- The politics of Florida drilling have been dicey for decades though amid bipartisan opposition there.
What they're saying: "In our view, the Eastern GOM may have represented the single biggest target of opportunity for offshore drillers," the research firm ClearView Energy Partners said in a note.