Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the draft proposal for offshore leasing between 2019 and 2024 would offer about 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf, the largest lease sale ever. The only area that will not be included is the North Aleutian Basin in Alaska.
Environmentalists will not be the only challengers to the 5-year plan, as Florida Governor Rick Scott has indicated he will challenge the decision.
"I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration," Scott said in a statement.
On the industry side of things, investment in offshore exploration might not pick up, due largely to instability in the market.
"Also, the more we produce oil, prices will go down. This announcement is more about geopolitics than economics," [John McNabb, former chairman and CEO of Willbros, one of the largest energy infrastructure contractors in the world] told CNBC. "We are telling the world we are energy independent. And we are."