Federal authorities were in Hartford this week, taking comment on President Donald Trump’s proposal to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas. Lately, the politics surrounding offshore drilling have changed a lot.
Think of it like a game of ping pong -- A really stressful one with lots of bouncing.
“I think it’s safe to say the current administration is forward-leaning on oil and gas,” said Bill Brown, chief environmental officer at BOEM, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Right now, he’s gathering comment around the country on Trump’s proposal to open up large swaths of the Atlantic seaboard to oil and gas drilling.
Brown said Trump’s idea could get scaled back and remove large portions of the Atlantic. It’s happened before.
“For example, the Obama administration in its five-year program proposed including the Atlantic and then did not have the Atlantic in the final program,” Brown said.
President Obama was pro-offshore drilling going back as far as 2010. But six years later, with the Trump administration knocking on the door, he made a last-minute move to ban oil drilling in large parts of the Atlantic.
Meanwhile, environmentalists at the hearing say there is a place for offshore energy development-- but not necessarily fossil fuels.
“Offshore energy development can be renewable. And there are certainly a lot of great projects right now with offshore wind,” said Melissa Gates, northeast regional manager with the Surfrider Foundation.
Gates said properly sited offshore wind can boost energy independence, reduce pollution, and create jobs.