(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday to extend offshore oil and gas drilling to areas previously off limits, Reuters reported. The order could lead to a reversal of bans across sections of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans and the Gulf of Mexico that former President Obama had sought to protect from development in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf in 2010.
"We're opening it up. Today we're unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs," Trump said as he signed the order.
The America-First Offshore Energy Strategy directs the Department of Interior to review and replace the Obama administration's most recent five-year oil and gas development plan for the Outer Continental Shelf. Weeks before leaving office, Obama banned new oil and gas drilling in federal waters in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, protecting 115 million acres off Alaska and 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic from New England to the Chesapeake Bay.
Trump's executive order comes as low oil prices and soaring onshore production have pushed industry demand for offshore leases near its lowest point since 2012, raising questions over the order's impact.
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