The U.S. Department of the Interior on Thursday proposed a five-year offshore leasing plan that opens up nearly all federal waters to potential drilling. The draft proposal of the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program makes all but one of the 26 offshore planning areas available for leasing. The only offshore planning area that is excluded is located in Alaska and was withdrawn from consideration in 2014.
The DOI's proposal, which undoes the plan executed at the end of the Obama administration that closed the Atlantic and Pacific and new regions in the Artic, identifies 47 potential lease sales: 19 in the Arctic, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, nine in the Atlantic and seven in the Pacific. It even includes areas in the eastern Gulf subject to a congressional moratorium until 2022.
As expected, the proposal has drawn significant opposition from a wide variety of people including Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, a Republican.