The US Department of Commerce (DOC) on Wednesday sent to the White House a report with recommendations on possibly changing the size of marine sanctuaries to allow for more oil and gas drilling, according to Reuters.
Details of the report submitted to the Donald Trump administration by DOC secretary Wilbur Ross were not made public but environmentalists are on their guard and called for the report to be released for all to see.
Sanctuaries under review cover 425 million acres of coral reefs. The 11 reefs in question were designated by previous US presidents.
There has been no clamour from the hydrocarbons industry for drilling in the marine sanctuaries because such projects would be expensive and a likely public relations nightmare.
The news came shortly after the Department of the Interior announced its largest ever offshore oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico.