Judge says Trump can’t re-open Arctic waters that Obama closed to drilling

Horizon over sea ice in the Arctic.

Enlarge / United States,
Alaska, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Kaktovik, frozen lagoon
and sea, pack ice formation. (credit: Getty Images)

On Friday, a federal judge ruled that President Trump could not
re-authorize drilling in Arctic waters after President Obama
removed those waters from drilling in 2016.

If the Alaskan judge’s ruling withstands appeal, it would mean
that the Trump Administration would have to seek approval from
Congress to re-open federal waters north of Alaska to oil and gas
drilling. Congress, currently divided with a Republican majority in
the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House, would be
unlikely to agree to such a request.

Why are these waters in question?

In December 2016, the outgoing Obama Administration invoked a
1953 law called the “Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act” (OCSLA)
to remove
about 125 million acres of Arctic waters
 north of Alaska from
potential leasing to oil drilling operations. (This excluded
roughly 3.2 million acres of lease-able waters adjacent to the
coast, approximately 200,000 of which are currently under active
leases to oil and gas companies.)

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Judge says Trump can’t re-open Arctic waters that Obama closed to drilling