10 industries at risk from Trump's offshore oil and gas drilling proposal

Skye Gould/Business InsiderUS waters that Trump is proposing to open to offshore oil and gas drilling.

In January, President Donald Trump proposed opening 98% of US waters to offshore oil and gas drilling.

The proposal listed 47 potential leases for drilling between 2019 and 2024, including “19 sales off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 in the Atlantic Region,” according to the US Interior Department.

It has drawn criticism from politicians on both sides of the aisle because exploration methods and the potential for oil spills risk the environment and multiple coastal industries.

Offshore oil surveyors use seismic airguns that cause in marine life “temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, and even beach strandings and death,” according to CNN.

Less than a week after Trump’s proposal, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke removed Florida from the list, saying that he agreed with Republican Gov. Rick Scott that Florida “is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.”

South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford even said that Trump had Florida removed because of Mar-a-Lago.

But Florida is not the only state reliant on fishing, tourism, and other industries tied to the coast and waterways.

Here are 10 industries in other states that Trump’s proposal could endanger:

1. Maryland crabs.


The Chesapeake Bay alone provides the US with 50% of its blue crabs, and the Maryland seafood industry contributes nearly $US600 million to the state’s economy each year.

“It could jeopardize our whole industry,” Robert Brown, president of the Maryland Waterman’s Association, told CNN.

Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has also come out against Trump’s proposal.


State of Maryland

2. Maine lobsters.


In 2016, Maine lobsters brought the state more than $US500 million, CNN reported.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” David Cousens, president of the 1,200-member Maine Lobstermen’s Association, told CNN. “We would lose all the lobsters up here.”

The proposal also puts Maine’s tourism industry, including Acadia National Park, at risk.

3. Gulf Coast shrimp and oysters.


The Gulf Coast accounts for 70% of US oyster production, and Louisiana’s shrimp production alone provides 15,000 jobs and $US1.3 billion to the state each year.

4. Alaska wild salmon.

Alaska’s Aleutian Basin, which includes Bristol Bay, a large sockeye salmon ecosystem, is not included in Trump’s proposal.

But the Gulf of Alaska and the waters to the west of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, account for at least two-thirds of the state’s fish production, a spokesperson at the United Fisherman of Alaska told Business Insider.

Salmon in these waters provide the most jobs, but more pollock is caught than any other fish, the UFA spokesperson said. Halibut, cod, and king crab industries are also at risk.

5. Naval Station Norfolk.

Daniel Brown/Business Insider

Republican Rep. Scott Taylor, who represents Virginia Beach and Norfolk, recently came out against Trump’s proposal, arguing that drilling could interfere with military training.

The Pentagon did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment but has voiced opposition to offshore drilling in the past. In 2016, the US Navy raised concerns about its training and readiness when Obama considered allowing drilling between Virginia and Georgia.

Offshore drilling could also put other US naval bases at risk and not just Norfolk, which is the largest in the country.

6. Virginia Beach tourism.

In 2015, Virginia Beach tourism revenues reached $US1.4 billion and provided nearly 13,000 jobs. In 2016, the state of Virginia had a record number of tourists, with revenues reaching $US24 billion.

In June 2017, the Virginia Beach city council unanimously passed a resolution opposing any offshore drilling.

7. Ocean City, Maryland tourism.

In 2015, Maryland tourism reached $US17 billion and supported more than 143,000 jobs. Ocean City is one of the state’s leading tourist destinations.

8. Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head tourism.

Tourism is South Carolina’s largest industry, bringing in $US20 billion in 2015, CNN reported, and Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are two of the state’s biggest tourist destinations.

“We cannot afford to take a chance with our beauty, our majesty and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline in South Carolina,” said Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who has called Trump a “good friend.”

9. New Jersey tourism.

Tourism in New Jersey, including Atlantic City along the ocean, is a $US44 billion industry.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, outgoing Republican Gov. Chris Christie, along with Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez wrote a letter to the Trump administration opposing offshore drilling, saying that “tourism industry accounts for one out of 10 jobs in the state’s workforce.”

10. California beaches — and more.

California is filled with sought-after beaches, such as La Jolla, Carlsbad, Santa Monica, and others.

“California is also ‘unique’ and our ‘coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,'” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement responding to Zinke’s exemption for Florida. “Our ‘local and state voice’ is firmly opposed to any and all offshore drilling. If that’s your standard, we, too, should be removed from your list. Immediately.”

A number of other tourist destinations are also at risk, including North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Delaware’s Bethany Beach, Massachusetts’ Martha’s Vineyard, and Long Island’s Jones Beach.

Even the Makah Tribe of Washington, who rely heavily on fishing, are at risk.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.