FORUM2: Should the U.S. allow offshore drilling? No. Expanding offshore drilling is dangerous and u

FOUR days into the new year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke unveiled a plan to open more than 90 percent of federal offshore waters to new oil and gas development, affecting virtually every mile of coastline along the continental United States and Alaska.

The single largest expansion ever proposed, this Draft Proposed Program calls for auctioning off ocean territories of the National Outer Continental Shelf in pieces, with 47 lease sales proposed from 2019 to 2024.

This is more than quadruple the number of lease sales offered in the current program, finalized under the Obama administration and designed to remain in effect until 2022.

To hear drilling proponents tell it, the Trump administrations bid to discard the existing plan in favor of this sudden and dramatic offshore drilling expansion is a responsible move geared toward energy dominance.

Yet elected officials, business owners, fishing industry representatives, recreationalists, environmental advocates and coastal residents are uniting in opposition to this proposal, which is widely interpreted as reckless and short-sighted.

More than 300,000 Americans have already submitted comments opposing expanded offshore drilling, pointing out that it jeopardizes community health and safety and locks us into fossil fuel reliance for decades.

Anyone who recalls the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico knows that by the time a rig explosion has claimed lives and a toxic plume has oiled a coastline, its too late to reverse....

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