The White House in the fourth week of December 2016 permanently banned all new oil and gas drilling in the US-owned waters of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.
This ban is being termed as a final effort to lock in environmental protections before current President Barack Obama hands over his office to president-elect Donald Trump.
To implement the ban on the two Oceans, an area that is roughly equal to the size of Thailand or Spain on Arctic and 31 sea canyons in the Arctic, Obama used a law of 1953 under which a president can block the mining and sale of new offshore drilling rights. The law makes it difficult for his/her successors to reverse the decision.
The ban was jointly announced by Obama and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister.
Reason behind the decision
Outgoing President Obama’s decision comes at a time of his departure from his office holds its ground. It holds ground because of his difference, in relation to policies related to the environment, between him and the president-elect Trump.
Obama, who signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015, supports the ambitious plan of reducing the global warming. But Trump had a different opinion on the agreement and has threatened to cancel the Paris climate agreement. The president-elect has said that he will use the untapped energy reserves of the country and exploit its fossil fuels.
This decision of Obama will act as a blockade for Trump and his dream of exploiting the fossil fuels of these two oceans. For revocation of the ban, Trump will have to challenge the action in the court.
The action came at the backdrop of demand of climate scientists, who urged incumbent-President Obama to come up with some regulations or executive order that can protect his climatic legacy. They term Trump’s presidency as a disaster to the planet.