ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
President Trump will sign an executive order tomorrow that aims to expand offshore drilling. The order will essentially try to undo actions taken by his predecessor, Barack Obama, that restricted drilling in the Arctic Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It also asks for a review of marine monuments that Obama designated.
NPR's Nathan Rott is following the story and joins us now from NPR West in Culver City. Hi, Nate.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.
SHAPIRO: Let's start with offshore drilling. What does this executive order mean for the energy industry?
ROTT: Well, that's a complicated answer. I mean on its face, this is something that energy companies are going to be excited about. It's something that they've lobbied for. They felt that the Obama administration was too restrictive when it came to the Outer Continental Shelf, and that's something the Trump administration certainly agrees with. Here's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at a press briefing earlier at the White House.
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RYAN ZINKE: When I came into the office, we looked at what was available for oil and gas and what wasn't. And today, about 94 percent of our Outer Continental Shelf is off-limits for possible development.
ROTT: So this executive order is going to aim to change that. It directs Zinke to review the current policy for offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic which was put in place by President Obama. But that's going to take a long time. Zinke himself said that it was a complicated process. It could take two years. And let's also not forget that the price of oil is relatively low right now. So even if they are able to roll back some of these restrictions quickly, it's not clear if we're going to see a lot more drilling.
Another thing that's also unclear is whether the administration can undo a separate ban on offshore drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic that Obama put in place during the last weeks of his presidency. He used this really obscure 1953 law to do that, and the administration then called it a permanent ban. Secretary Zinke didn't really answer questions about whether or not they can reverse that. He just said that everything was up for review.
SHAPIRO: And what about the marine monuments? That sounds like the aquatic version of what the Trump administration did with national monuments on land earlier this week.
ROTT: Exactly. It's very similar. Secretary Zinke even threw out the comparison in the briefing. You might remember that Obama made headlines last year when he hugely expanded a national marine monument in Hawaii, quadrupling the size of it, and named another on in the Atlantic. It would seem that those are the ones that will get the administration's attention first, but Zinke said that all marine monuments made in the last 10 years will be subject to review.
SHAPIRO: NPR's Nathan Rott - thanks, Nate.
ROTT: Thanks, Ari.
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