U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., joined President Donald Trump at the White House today for the signing of the American First Energy Executive Order, which could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
With one day left to rack up accomplishments before he reaches his 100th day in office, Trump ordered his interior secretary to review an Obama-era plan that dictates which locations are open to offshore drilling, with the goal of the new administration to expand operations. It's part of Trump's promise to unleash the nation's energy reserves in an effort to reduce reliance on foreign oil and to spur jobs, regardless of fierce opposition from environmental activists who say offshore drilling harms whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbates global warming.
"This order will cement our nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy security for the benefit of American people, without removing any of the stringent environmental safeguards that are currently in place," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters at a White House briefing.
Zinke said the order, combined with other steps Trump has taken during his first months in office, "puts us on track for American energy independence."
Fleischmann, a member of the Energy and Water subcommittee of the House Appropriation Committee, was among those at the White House for the order signing. Fleischmann said offshore energy exploration and production "is a critical component of an America First energy strategy."
"I believe energy independence is important now more than ever," Fleischmann said in a statement. " The United States possesses immense oil and natural gas reserves that are completely unused. Increasing our energy independence can and should be done. I'm glad that President Trump has made it a top priority."