Here is another attempt by the outgoing Obama Administration to sabotage the new Trump Presidency before it even begins. It is fairly regular for lame duck Presidents of the opposing party of the incoming President-Elect to go into a flurry of actions that will impede the new administration. It’s rare to see a President attempt such moves with such gusto, as Obama is doing! Also, he is absolutely fooling himself if he thinks that any permanency can be attached to any measure he attempts to enact at his 23rd hour. This can only be a move to put attention on the issue and force Trump to speak out against it, therefore cast him in a negative light with some of the more moderate environmentalists.
LA Times – Invoking a rarely used provision in federal law, the Obama administration on Tuesday announced a permanent ban on offshore drilling in broad parts of the Arctic and Atlantic coasts — a sweeping and controversial move that will help secure the president’s environmental legacy even as critics vowed to reverse it.
The ban relies on the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, which says the president “may, from time to time, withdraw” federal waters from oil and gas development that are not already leased. It was announced as part of a joint action with Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made long-term, though not permanent, commitments to protect the Arctic from drilling
Obama cited the Arctic’s “unique ecosystem,” the risk of damage from a spill, the high cost of working in the remote and frigid region and concerns about climate change.
“It would take decades to fully develop the production infrastructure necessary for any large-scale oil and gas leasing production in the region – at a time when we need to continue to move decisively away from fossil fuels,” the president said in a written statement.
The announcement, coming one month to the day before Obama is to be succeeded by President-elect Donald Trump, is intended to help counter plans by the incoming administration to vastly expand energy extraction by fossil fuel companies.
Trump made clear his intentions for robust new drilling during the campaign, and his appointment to key cabinet posts of longtime loyalists to the oil industry has alarmed environmentalists. Major conservation groups had been pushing Obama in recent weeks to put the offshore areas off limits in perpetuity.
With Trump vowing to increase offshore drilling, Obama should try to prevent future oil and gas exploration
Past presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, have invoked the law to issue temporary bans. Obama’s action appears to be the first time the law has been used to impose a permanent drilling ban – and it is almost certain to be challenged.
A senior administration official said Tuesday that the White House was “quite confident” that the decision could not be undone by Trump, noting that the law specifies no provision for reversal. The official suggested that overturning the ban could require years of legal action and the passage of a bill in Congress.
Some oil industry leaders said they believed the next administration could easily reverse it. They cited a 2008 memorandum by President George W. Bush that lifted a temporary ban in certain offshore areas imposed by President Clinton.
“Fortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent ban, and we look forward to working with the new administration on fulfilling the will of American voters on energy production,” wrote Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute.
Yet environmental groups say the 2008 reversal left intact other permanent changes Clinton made.
Under the 1953 law, a presidential order that explicitly states that it is intended to be permanent, and is designed to address an “articulated purpose,” would likely stand up to legal challenges, lawyers for two conservation groups, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, wrote in a legal brief on the issue last month.
The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Image Source: nationofchange.org