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PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Experts React to Trump’s Order to Expand Offshore Drilling

April 28, 2017

"It’s time for Congress to take back its power and restrain the president by passing laws ensuring America’s lands and resources are managed according to plans specifically approved by Congress." - H. Sterling Burnett

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President Donald Trump signed a new executive order that would increase offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans.

The following statements from environment and energy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/445-7554.

“President Trump’s executive order to reverse Obama-era policies restricting offshore drilling will ensure a competitive marketplace for oil and gas production in the United States for decades to come.

“Although on-shore oil production has skyrocketed as a result of hydraulic fracturing, it remains critically important that the United States not take options off the table when it comes to providing affordable energy for Americans. More competition in the marketplace is good news for consumers who need lower gas prices at the pump.

“Offshore drilling is a long process, taking approximately ten years before oil or natural gas is produced. The United States may be awash in oil for the time being, but the world population is expected to grow from 7.3 billion today to 8.5 billion in 2030, and 9.7 billion in 2050. We will need these resources in the future, which makes this policy a good long-term decision for our country.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

“There’s never a wrong time to get a policy right, but the earlier you start the better. Trump is getting it right early. Former president Barack Obama let his personal fear of climate change and dislike of fossil fuels get in the way of doing what is best for American workers, America’s energy security, state and federal coffers, and the American economy in general by arbitrarily restricting offshore oil and gas exploration and production indefinitely. Trump is keeping his promise to ‘put America first.’

“The fact that any president could with a stroke of a pen lock up vast areas of America, either on land through national monument designations or offshore with moratoria and marine sanctuary designations, is appalling. The lesson is, it’s time for Congress to get in the ballgame and carry out its constitutionally designated role to legislate. Congress alone, as the body most representative of the people, was given the authority in the Constitution to make such decisions – except where such power was left to the states or the people therein. The president was meant to be an administrator to carry out Congress’s enactments, not a super legislator.

“It’s time for Congress to take back its power and restrain the president by passing laws ensuring America’s lands and resources are managed according to plans specifically approved by Congress – and even then, they shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all plans, but rather plans designed to take into account the varying resources and conditions of different areas.

“It’s time to end the Antiquities Act and the president’s ability to declare moratoria on uses of public lands for all but the briefest of times – 60 days at most – while Congress as a whole determines whether to make such actions permanent or temporary, or to rescind or reshape them altogether.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News

“Any time regulations and restrictions coming out of Washington DC can be removed or taken a critical look at is a good thing. They are moving in the right direction to energy security and this just makes it better.

“Secretary Ryan Zinke will have his work cut out for him as he reviews the offshore drilling bans with too many holdovers still in the department, and the environmentalists primed to step up protests. They have been fighting for years to shut down oil and gas and are not used to not winning. “While we do not have much offshore drilling in North Dakota, I am excited to see future discoveries from our energy sector.

“Offshore exploration and drilling have come a long way in safety and technology, and it is time that energy development and energy security were back in front.”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute

Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

President Trump's action today in advancing oil and natural gas development from our offshore fossil fuel deposits is a welcome step forward as he moves to achieve the goals of the America First Energy Plan. For too long American political leaders have demonized the use of fossil fuels because of CO2 emissions and the phony Vision of Climate Apocalypse advanced by their thought Leader, Al Gore.

Speculative fears from such use are based entirely on the predictions of flawed, flux adjusted computer models and are no better than sophisticated speculation.  There is no science that justifies denying the American people the benefits of the full utilization of our vast store of fossil fuel resources. America and indeed the world were built on fossil fuel use and development. America and indeed the world will only prosper if we go forward in developing all of our fossil resources with due regard to protecting the natural environment and using the resulting product efficiently. President Trump recognizes this and congratulations to the President for taking this important step today.

Fred Palmer
Senior Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute

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Energy Environment
Isaac Orr is a policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment on mining and energy issues and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @thefrackingguy
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Bette Grande is a research fellow for energy and pension issues at The Heartland Institute. Prior to coming to Heartland, she served as a North Dakota state representative from 1996–2014, representing the 41st district. @BetteGrande
Frederick D. Palmer is a policy advisor for energy and climate at The Heartland Institute.