On Tuesday President Obama took action to bar offshore drilling in the Artic and Atlantic oceans indefinitely. A major environmental milestone for the administration. He used a sixty three year old law to prevent future leasing of specific offshore areas for oil rights. If Trump tried reversing Obama’s order he would face serious legal challenges. Trump was hugely in favor of American energy production.
The White House has made the entire portion of the American Chukchi Sea and the majority of the Beaufort Sea indefinitely off limits for oil and gas leasing in the future. All for the protection of marine mammals, ecological resources and native populations.
Canada announced heed it would freeze their oil and gas exploration as well in arctic waters. A move that’s not surprising considering the close relationship between Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Obama. Obama also declared 32 canyons off the Atlantic coast off limits for drilling. He cited irreplaceable ecological value.
This ruling will make it so that future Presidents are prevented from taking swift action to reopen oil exploration in specifically restricted areas. In the past Obama has done this before romresteict new leases in waters bordering America.
The law cited is from 1954 and is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act which allows presidents to withdraw lands from consideration for future leasing. It’s been used before for restriction of exploration of oil on the west and east coasts before.
Since law was used and not executive action it will be extraordinarily difficult to reverse. One senior administration official said,
“We believe there is a strong legal basis for these withdrawals. The moves would go forward and will stand the test of time. This action has the force of law. There is no authority for a future president to withdraw it.”
Lobbyists argue the possibility of leaks and spills are too high. They have asked Obama to take decisive action that would prevent this arctic drilling for oil. But oil companies insist their is gas underneath these arctic surfaces that would boost American energy production.
Senior Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Associarion of America said,
“Instead of building on our nation’s position as a global energy leader, today’s unilateral mandate could put America back on a path of energy dependence for decades to come. We disagree with this last-minute political rhetoric coming from the Obama administration and contest this decision by the outgoing administration as disingenuous. With exactly one month left in office, President Obama chose to succumb to environmental extremists demands to keep our nation’s affordable and abundant energy supplies away from those who need it the most by keeping them in the ground.”
Trump dismisses climate change as a hoax while Obama takes it seriously and considers it a threat to our country and world. Trump vowed to remove America from the International Paris Climate Accord. He has also appointed a climate change denier as head of the environmental protection agency.