An executive order from President Trump could open the California coast to drilling.

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New Executive Order Could Open Up California Coast For Drilling

Megan Goldsby
June 22, 2018 - 12:36 pm

President Trump quietly issued an executive order this week that threatens to undercut conservation of the oceans in favor of industrial activity like drilling,off the country's coasts. 

On Tuesday, Trump scrapped a policy put in place by his predecessor, former President Obama, who in 2010 sought to safeguard marine environments after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The new executive order promised to cut through bureaucratic red tape and regulations that stifle fishing, drilling and other parts of the maritime economy. 

"Ocean industries employ millions of Americans and support a strong national economy.," the order said. 

Trump's policy contained language about protecting the environment, but critics like Ocean Foundation Senior Fellow Richard Charter said it sounded hollow. 

"It's going to promote industrial activities in the ocean. It takes out language about climate change," said Charter. "Rescinding Obama's national ocean policy probably has a direct link to planned offshore drilling, particularly here off California." 

Under Obama, a panel of officials from states and native tribes as well as environmentalists helped set policy affecting the waters off the nation's shores. They've been replaced by a new group, the Ocean Policy Committee, that Charter said is populated only by Trump appointees. 

The executive order comes weeks after the president declared June as National Ocean Month

Some states, like California and Florida, may create laws that shield their waters from some of the activities the Trump administration is encouraging, Charter said.