In an order signed earlier this month, President Donald Trump signaled that he would institute a moratorium on oil drilling off the coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Now, he’s taking it a step further.
During a campaign rally in Virginia this week, the president made the surprise announcement that his decadelong drilling ban would be expanded to include both that state and North Carolina, as reported by the New York Post.
“Extending the moratorium”
Trump’s latest remarks on the topic came on Friday as he addressed supporters at an event in Newport News.
“So I’m extending the moratorium to North Carolina and Virginia,” he declared after touting the perceived benefits of his earlier ban, according to the Post.
In announcing his executive order on Sept. 8, Trump said that he had heard from a number of officials in the affected states who had expressed a desire for such a moratorium on offshore drilling.
“They came to my office, a lot of the senators that I just introduced and [Florida Gov.] Ron [DeSantis] and everybody, they came to my office, they said that this will make us and make you the number one environmental president since Teddy Roosevelt,” the president said at the time, according to a separate report from the New York Post.
“How about that?”
While there are plenty of environmental concerns impacting the oil industry, some of those affected by Trump’s ban have expressed vocal opposition. In fact, one insider told Politico that the announcement earlier this month felt like a “complete ambush” after extensive talks with the Department of the Interior regarding the future of oil drilling off the U.S. coast.
“Nobody knows where this came from,” the individual said. “It totally seems like a campaign sort of thing.”
In his most recent comments, though, Trump not only defended his own environmental record but dismissed his rival as inconsistent on the issue.
Trump said that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “wants to ban fracking, how about that?”
The remark was an apparent reference to the former vice president’s comments last month signaling that he would not ban the controversial method of drilling after previously indicating that the option was on the table.
Whether the president’s latest move gives him a noticeable boost in the upcoming general election remains to be seen, but it is sure to endear him to residents of those states with concerns about the possible impacts of offshore drilling.