The Interior Department on Wednesday approved what would be the first oil and gas production facility in federal waters off the coast of Alaska, part of the Trump administration’s effort to expand where the U.S. produces fossil fuels.

Energy company Hilcorp proposes to build a nine-acre artificial gravel island in shallow waters of the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean, calling it the Liberty Project. The project would be near four other oil and gas producing artificial islands in waters that the state controls.

"Responsibly developing our resources, in Alaska especially, will allow us to use our energy diplomatically to aid our allies and check our adversaries," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said. "That makes America stronger and more influential around the globe.”

Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued conditional approval for the project after evaluating the potential environmental impacts, and incorporating input from the public, and from North Slope communities and tribes. Hilcorp still must obtain other permits from local, state, and federal agencies before moving forward with construction, development, and production, according to Guy Hayes, a BOEM spokesman.

BOEM's approval comes after the Trump administration in January proposed a massive offshore oil and gas drilling plan to allow it in nearly all federal waters, including sales off the Alaska coast.

The plan has received bipartisan criticism, with almost all coastal governors expressing opposition to allowing drilling off their shores, especially in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans — and new parts of the eastern Gulf of Mexico — for fear of spills and harm to tourism.

Zinke has since indicated he will likely scale back the plan when he finalizes it later this year.

But local politicians support drilling off Alaska’s coast. The state is heavily dependent on oil and gas revenue to support its budget.

Last year, Republicans in Congress, as part of their tax reform legislation, allowed for a long-sought onshore opportunity in Alaska, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and natural gas drilling.

Republicans expect drilling in ANWR to raise $1 billion over a decade to help pay for tax reform. Democrats, however, contend that won’t happen in light of low oil prices and steep competition from natural gas, and worry drilling there would harm the ecosystem of what they describe as one of the wildest places left on earth.