Alaska Judge Blocks Arctic And Atlantic Offshore Oil Drilling

Source: EcoWatch/Olivia Rosane

Photo: Clyde Thomas/Unsplash

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A federal judge in Alaska ruled on Friday that President Donald Trump “exceeded the president’s authority” when he signed an executive order to allow offshore oil drilling in around 125 million acres of the Arctic Ocean, CNN reported.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason’s decision restores a ban on drilling in 98 percent of the U.S.-controlled Arctic Ocean, according to Earthjustice, which sued to stop Trump’s order on behalf of several environmental groups and Alaska Native communities.

The ruling “shows that the president cannot just trample on the constitution to do the bidding of his cronies in the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our oceans, wildlife and climate,” Earthjusticeattorney Erik Grafe said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.

Former president Barack Obama had instituted the ban via three memoranda and one executive order, protecting much of the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic as well. In her ruling Friday, Gleason said that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act allows the president to withdraw lands from leasing, but not to reverse a previous withdrawal. That, she said, can only be done by Congress.

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Photo: Clyde Thomas/Unsplash

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