The new legislation will allow oil drilling in nearly all waters off the US coast, according to proposals unveiled on Thursday.
Vincent DeVito, Counselor for Energy Policy at the U.S. Department of Interior, said:
By proposing to open up nearly the entire OCS for potential oil and gas exploration, the United States can advance the goal of moving from aspiring for energy independence to attaining energy dominance.
This decision could bring unprecedented access to America’s extensive offshore oil and gas resources and allows us to better compete with other oil-rich nations.
The Obama administration considered some of the affected areas for exploration but abandoned the idea in 2016 because of concerns from states, coastal residents and the military, which uses some of the waters.
Oceana, a nonprofit conservation group that monitors fisheries and pollution, told the Washington Post the Trump administration's plan was a "recipe for disaster":
This radical offshore drilling free-for-all is a clear example of politics over people, ignoring widespread local and state opposition.
A California conservation group cited polls showing nearly 70 per cent of Californians oppose offshore drilling, due to concerns over tourism and affected beaches.
In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon spill killed 11 people and sent at least 4.9 million barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.
Public meetings will be held around the country starting on 16 January 2018 to receive comments on the plan. Dates times and venues will be posted here.