HOUSTON, June 22 (Xinhua) -- A plan to ban offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and other coastal areas of the United States will dramatically limit future oil drilling and exploration opportunities, an expert has said.
"This would probably not affect existing drilling, but it would foreclose future projects, which would necessarily reduce the sources from which potential spills may occur," Noah Perch-Ahern, a partner who practices environmental law with the firm of Greenberg Glusker, told Xinhua on Friday.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a plan this week which will ban drilling the part of the Gulf of Mexico and in the waters near U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The primary concern is to prevent another oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. That oil spill contaminated beaches along the coasts of many southern states including Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.
The plan was conceived by Democrats and came after several setbacks in the U.S. courts which halted plans by the Trump Administration to expand drilling off America's coasts.
"There's been political pressure to limit offshore drilling for some time by states with significant shorelines and coastal and scenic resources," said Perch-Ahern.
"The industrial infrastructure needed to support offshore drilling, and ultimately offshore production of oil and gas, is wholly incompatible with the economies of our coastal communities," Representative Joe Cunningham, a South Carolina Democrat, told local media.
"There is no place in our bays, full of recreational vessels, for tank farms, docks, mooring balls and other equipment which is necessary to support the numerous offshore supply vessels and barges supplying the rigs and platforms," he added.