US Judge Overturns Revocation of Oil Drilling Ban in Arctic, Atlantic

Judge restores Obama-era drilling ban in Arctic

Judge restores Obama-era drilling ban in Arctic

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump's move to lift bans on drilling for oil and gas in offshore Arctic and Atlantic areas is illegal, a United States judge has ruled.

Judge Sharon Gleason in a ruling late Friday threw out Trump's executive order that overturned the ban implemented by President Barack Obama.

Trump's 2017 order called for a review of the Obama-era bans with the goal of allowing "responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our treasury and jobs to our workers", but made no mention of the environmental rationale for the prohibitions.

That action by the Obama Administration prompted strong criticism from some Alaska politicians and oil companies that wanted to drill there.

The American Petroleum Institute, a defendant in the case, disagreed with the ruling.

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"Gleason cited the plaintiff's claims that federal law ". only authorizes a president to withdraw lands from disposition; it does not authorize a President to revoke a prior withdrawal.

Erik Grafe, an attorney with Earthjustice, welcomed the ruling, saying it "shows that the president can not just trample on the Constitution to do the bidding of his cronies in the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our oceans, wildlife and climate".

She ruled Congress is the only institution that can reverse a president's decision with regard to this matter, saying Trump's executive order "is unlawful, as it exceeded the President's authority". "Offshore drilling and the associated threat of devastating oil spills puts coastal economies and ways of life at risk while worsening the consequences of climate change".

According to the judge's ruling, Trump will need congressional approval to do so.

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