President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to curb federal land-use restrictions that have led to the shutdown of dozens of oil and coal mining operations in several states.
The move was the latest move to ease restrictions on drilling in the United States that have forced the closure of hundreds of thousands of acres of land in some areas.
The executive order directs the Interior Department to create an online tool for federal land managers to help them identify federal land that could be used for drilling or energy development.
The new order directs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a review of federal land to determine whether land could be rezoned or developed as a drilling or natural gas extraction facility.
“We’re going to take a look at whether there are other areas that could potentially be developed as energy resources,” Zinke said at a press conference.
Interior Secretary Zinke at a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2020, announcing the creation of an online resource for federal managers to identify land that might be used to develop drilling or fossil fuels.
Zinke previously said he planned to use the tool to identify and prioritize federal land for energy development and development in general.
Zin, a former Montana congressman, took office in January.
He announced plans to eliminate a rule limiting the amount of water a federal government agency can use from the streams and wetlands it manages.
That rule was lifted in late January, but the Interior Dept. is still reviewing whether to reclassify certain parts of the Great Basin National Wildlife Refuge.
The Great Basin was designated a national monument in 1976.
President Donald J. Trump signed the executive order at the Interior headquarters in Washington.
The Interior Dept., under Zinke, announced it will review the Great Canyon National Park, the nation’s second-largest open-space national park, for potential development.
Zin’s office said the review will consider the impact of rezoning on wildlife habitat, water quality, water management, air quality, recreation opportunities, wildlife habitat for birds, mammals, fish, and wildlife and water quality.
Interior Department Secretary Ryan D. Zinoe announces the reclassification of the second-oldest national monument to be designated as a national conservation area in the Great Lakes Basin National Conservation Area on Jan. 22, 2020.
The reclassifications were announced in conjunction with the reopening of the Yellowstone River National Recreation Area, the first time that the area has been open for public use in more than three decades.