Offshore drilling

Trump's move toward Atlantic drilling could hurt marine mammals

An aerial view of a right whale erupting from the blow hole while feeding off the shores of Duxbury Beach. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Trump administration is set to allow companies to conduct seismic tests for oil-and-gas resources in the Atlantic Ocean — a process that uses powerful air-gun blasts that could harm whales, dolphins and other marine life.

Why it matters: The surveys will help gauge the size of hydrocarbon resources off coastal areas that are now off-limits to drilling, but would become available under draft federal offshore leasing plans. However, environmental groups say the tests could harm or even lead to the death of sensitive ocean mammals. The Obama administration had thwarted similar industry requests.

With deep pockets, energy industry notches big midterm wins

Hand puts in a mini Earth into ballot box.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The oil industry and a big utility fended off three ballot initiatives that would have been bad for their businesses after pouring millions of dollars into separate efforts across a trio of Western states.

Why it matters: The industry wins are stark examples of how money-fueled negative messaging can persuade voters. It also shows how fights over energy policy have moved to the states as the issue remains mostly off the table in Washington.

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