Invoking a 1953 law, President Obama has indefinitely banned future drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean.
The 1950’s law, which governs the Outer Continental Shelf, led to Obama being able to ban any attempts at future drilling in federal waters in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea, most of the Beaufort Sea and 21 underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.
Canada have also blocked drilling in all of its Arctic Ocean waters, a move President Obama praised.
In a statement Obama said, “These actions and Canada’s parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on earth. They reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the highest safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited.”
The move drew praise from environmental groups, including Surfrider who took to Twitter to praise the President’s actions.
— Surfrider Foundation (@Surfrider) December 20, 2016
Naturally the move drew criticism from the oil and gas industry who will be urging lawmakers to reverse the decision.