Obama Bans New Ocean Oil and Gas Drilling
Obama announced a new ban on offshore oil and gas drilling. It protects waters in the Arctic Ocean owned by the United States. The ban also protects certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean. Under the new protections, drilling will be permanently forbidden in these waters.
The ban will reduce fossil fuel production, which contributes to climate change. The White House announced the actions alongside the government of Canada. The United States’ northern neighbor also forbid new drilling in its Arctic waters.
Environmental groups hope the ban will be difficult for future presidents to change. The White House said it is confident the president’s order will stand up in court. The law does not let future presidents undo permanent bans, it said.
Only some of the Atlantic waters controlled by the United States are protected from new drilling. The area under protection stretches from New England to Virginia. Existing drilling activity is not affected by the president’s order.
The White House gave several reasons for banning offshore drilling. First, it cited concerns about the environment. Obama also pointed to the importance of Arctic seas to native Alaskans.
Oil and gas industry leaders objected to Obama’s decision. The drilling ban will weaken America’s “position as a global energy leader,” said Dan Naatz. He works for the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
By forbidding offshore drilling, President Obama appears to be trying to limit the power of Donald Trump. Trump has said he wants to do more drilling on U.S. lands.
Environmental groups were calling for a permanent ban even before the election. Trump’s victory has provided greater urgency for them. Trump has said he wants to use all available fuel reserves. He has also said that it is time to open up offshore drilling.
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