Bring on the Oil Spills, Trump Wants to Loosen Regulations

Wouldn’t the United States’ beautiful coastal areas look that much prettier with some oil spills in the water?

Admittedly, that’s an outrageous opinion, but it seems to be the outlook of our president anyway. On Friday, Donald Trump signed yet another executive order, this one calling on the Interior Department to reconsider the U.S.’s offshore drilling prospects.

“Renewed offshore energy production will reduce the cost of energy, create countless new jobs and make America more secure and far more energy independent,” said Trump, making it clear that this “review” is not really a reexamination but the first steps toward dismantling environmental safeguards established during President Barack Obama’s tenure..

Of course, we already knew that. Trump has been falsely pitching non-renewable energy expansion (aka environmental destruction) as a savior for the economy from the start of his political career.

For starters, Trump wants to take aim at the safety regulations placed on oil rigs, particularly the reviews conducted on rig safety equipment. How many times do major oil companies need to carelessly spill oil into our oceans creating long-term problems before we realize that loosening safety regulations only ensures that these kind of accidents happen more regularly?

In the order, Trump also called on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reexamine Obama’s decision to restrict drilling along the southeastern Atlantic coast and much of the Arctic Ocean.

Unfortunately, that also includes reviewing the drilling viability of protected marine sanctuaries. Back in 2014, Obama made headlines by establishing the biggest ocean reserve in the world, an accomplishment that could potentially be eliminated if the oil companies think it will be profitable to drill there.

Although it’s clear what Trump wants to see happen, Zinke told the press that he has no “set goal” at this point. He did find a review of Obama’s work to be appropriate, though. “A new administration should look at the policies and make sure the policies are appropriate,” he said.

Zinke also pointed out to reporters that the country’s intake from offshore leases has dropped by roughly $15 billion thanks to Obama’s rules. However, even he had to admit that some of that drop was easily attributed to the global fall in oil prices rather than Obama obstructionism.

Furthermore, it’s hard to argue that America needs to recoup that $15 million while Trump proposes tax cuts that economists expect will add an extra $5 trillion in national debt over the next 10 years.

If Trump and Zinke do indeed move forward with expanding drilling and stripping safety regulations, expect environmentalists to take the White House to court.  As Bloomberg points out, the Interior Department has the ability to make changes of this sort so long as they are “not significant.” Activists could also make the case that the Interior Department did not devote the proper amount of investigation to ensure their policy changes were not reckless.

Ideally, those who care about the environment could just avoid court altogether. The executive order is meaningless if Secretary Zinke ultimately decides not to touch Obama’s common sense policies when it comes to offshore drilling and protecting our oceans. Urge Zinke to stand up to Trump on this matter for the sake of our planet by signing this petition.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

74 comments

Melania P
Melania P2 months ago

Are you surprised? He does not care about the environment; he does not even care nor understands what science is and what it is telling us about climate change and the future.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie F4 months ago

Okay

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Carl R
Carl R4 months ago

Thanks!!!!

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld4 months ago

Annabel,
That is the part of the science that many do not fully comprehend. Different scientists are saying different (sometimes contradictory) things based on to which evidence they are giving more importance. For instance the most likely climate sensitivity (temperature increase for doubling CO2 content) range extends from 1.3C to 2.4C, although there are those claiming both higher and lower values, which cannot be eliminated. That is quite a large uncertainty range, showing how much is still unknown. I have confidence that, with more research, we can narrow that down much further.

All the bets to you too. Thanks.

https://judithcurry.com/2016/04/25/updated-climate-sensitivity-estimates/

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini4 months ago

Dan
Of course there are a lot of unknowns but the science you quote does often seem to contradict other equally respectable science. But, as I say, I'm not going to argue this any further, we could swap websites ad infinitum.
All the best!

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Dan B
Dan Blossfeld4 months ago

Annabel,
Enthusiast? Well, thank you. As a scientist, I will admit that I am rather passionate about science, and it pains me when people misrepresent the science for their own purposes. Both the so-called "deniers" and "alarmists" tend to do this. I find few of us that truly understand the science behind the climate, and how far we are from truly understanding it.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini4 months ago

Dan,
We've argued about this too often in the past and I'm not starting again. I will just say one thing: I've met a lot of climate change deniers in my time, but you are the first climate change enthusiast I've ever come across. Amazing!

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Dan B
Dan Blossfeld4 months ago

Annabel,
Given the choice between scientific reports and web-based reporting, I will go with the science every time. Sure, droughts are occurring. They always have. Just compared to the recent history, overall drought has decreased.

According to the Canadian drought monitor, there is no severe drought in British Columbia.

http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/programs-and-services/list-of-programs-and-services/drought-watch/canadian-drought-monitor/?id=1463575104513

South Africa is expected a large increase in their maize harvest this year due to "increased rainfall during the summer growing season."

http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/c32ef40040e8e697987ffd4ee49bb917/SAsundefinedmaizeundefinedoutputundefinedseenundefinedrisingundefined87undefinedhigherundefinedinundefined2017-20172504

In fact, if you examine NOAA's vegetative health index, it is rather robust for most of the globe. South Africa, India, and Southeast Asia appear to be in the best shape. If anything, Europe appears to be lacking in precipitation.

https://www.drought.gov/gdm/current-conditions

Much of the fall in undernourished is due to a combination of increased agricultural output and, more importantly, a reduction in food spoilage.

http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/special_initiatives/WFP265205.pdf

Again, science trumps propaganda.

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Chad Anderson
Chad A4 months ago

So much damage has already been done, can't we try to make things better instead of worse?

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini4 months ago

Dan B. Sorry to disagree with you once again but Watchers.news lists severe droughts in Haiti, Cuba, South Africa, Guatemala, Palau, Ethiopia, Malawi, Southern and Eastern India, British Colombia, Bolivia, Somalia (famine conditions in Somaliland) Northern Nigeria, South Sudan, Sri Lanka...... and that's only the first two pages of many more. In most cases these are the worst droughts in decades and, what is important for this discussion, it is extremely unusual for them to be contemporaneous.

The fall in percentages of undernourishment are due mainly to the intervention of aid agencies and the UN, not to improved climatic conditions.

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