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Obama Just Took a Big Step on Climate—and Trump Probably Can't Undo It

on Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:24 pm
Carlos Barria/Reuters via ZUMA Press

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Barack Obama has permanently banned new oil and gas drilling in most US-owned waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, a last-ditch effort to lock in environmental protections before he hands over to Donald Trump.

Obama used a 1953 law that allows presidents to block the sale of new offshore drilling and mining rights and makes it difficult for their successors to reverse the decision.

However, Obama's ban—affecting federal waters off Alaska in the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea and in the Atlantic from New England to the Chesapeake Bay—is unprecedented in scale and could be challenged by Trump in court.

The president-elect has vowed to unleash the country's untapped energy reserves and exploit fossil fuels. He has previously questioned the science of climate change, threatened to tear up the Paris climate agreement and appointed climate-change deniers in his cabinet.

This has led to a scramble from environmentalists calling on Obama to impose whatever regulations and executive orders he can to protect his climate legacy.

Tuesday's move came in a joint announcement by Obama and the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who also put a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing in its Arctic waters, subject to periodic review...............

Access complete text of the editorial:  motherjones.com In English
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