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Trump Administration Seeks to Open Most Coastal Waters to Offshore Oil Drilling

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told reporters Thursday that the Trump administration will lift an Obama-era ban on offshore oil drilling, opening nearly all coastal waters in the United States—including 90 percent of the country's reserves in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico—to oil and gas companies, the New York Times reports.

The decision would remove protections for about 100 million acres of water, some of which have been closed to drilling for three decades. Opening them will take roughly 18 months, according to the Times, and will likely face blowback from leaders of coastal states intent on protecting their shorelines. Conversely, oil and gas lobbyists, including the president of the Koch-funded American Energy Alliance, lauded the administration's decision.

Per a summary of the announcement published by ABC News, there are 47 proposed land leases already under review in the Department of the Interior, 19 of which are around Alaska, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, nine along the Atlantic and seven in the Pacific. Six of the Pacific sites would be off the coast of California.

Barring a successful challenge to the decision, drilling is expected to begin between 2019 and 2024.