President Trump moved the ball forward on oil and gas development in the last 24 hours with a trio of projects.
The $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline began shipping oil from North Dakota to Illinois on Thursday, the same day he announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. The pipeline's opening was a direct result of one of Trump's first actions as president, when he signed a directive to move the project forward.
Meanwhile, on the eve of Trump's Paris announcement, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order in Alaska to begin reassessing oil reserves in the Arctic to eventually begin tapping more fossil fuels in that state.
Zinke's order calls for a review of the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, the largest track of federally managed land in the nation, along with the contentious Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, which Trump's budget lists as an area to be opened for development. The review seeks to modify an existing Integrated Activity Plan, with the intent of increasing oil production in both areas. Zinke wants an updated assessment of the oil reserves there in three weeks.
The Energy Department also pushed forward on natural gas energy exports Thursday by approving a long-term application to export liquefied natural gas from the first offshore export project, the Delfin LNG terminal, off the coast of Louisiana.
The agency approved exports in the amount of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day from the proposed floating LNG terminal in the Gulf of Mexico. Once built, the export terminal will move natural gas from the mainland to the terminal at sea. The gas will then be liquefied and placed into LNG tankers and shipped abroad. The Trump administration is bullish on boosting natural gas exports to Europe and Asia.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the approval is part of the administration's plan "to strengthen the United States as a dominant energy force" with exports of U.S. natural gas. "Investing in American natural gas not only helps our economy and our jobs, but also helps our allies maintain their energy security. This represents a true win-win for everyone involved," he said.