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News // Ecology

Obama administration blocks new oil and gas drilling in Arctic Ocean

21 November 2016 , 10:26Neftegaz.RU915

A 5-year offshore drilling plan announced on November 19, 2016, blocks the planned sale of new oil and gas drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska.


Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, said she was «infuriated» that Obama «has once again ignored our voices to side with the factions who oppose» offshore drilling in Alaska.

«Arctic development is one of the best ways to create jobs, generate revenues and refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline,» said Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. «Why the president is willing to send all of those benefits overseas is beyond explanation.»


As he prepares to leave office in 2 months, Obama has worked to build an environmental legacy that includes a global agreement to curb climate change and an ambitious plan to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. He also has imposed stricter limits on smog-causing pollution linked to asthma and rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

All of those accomplishments and others are at risk from Trump's presidency. Trump loathes regulation and wants to increase oil and gas drilling and the use of coal.

Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax and has vowed to «cancel» U.S. involvement in the landmark Paris Agreement on global warming. While he has been vague about precise policies, Trump is likely to seek to weaken or kill the Clean Power Plan, a cornerstone Obama policy meant to reduce carbon pollution from the nation's power plants as part of an effort to combat climate change.


The decision to block Arctic drilling follows a decision this spring to block drilling in the Atlantic. Republican governors in North and South Carolina back drilling off their states' coasts, as does the Democratic governor of Virginia. The state's two Democratic senators also support drilling.


Nearly 400 scientists signed a letter this summer urging Obama to eliminate the possibility of Arctic offshore drilling.

Senator Dan Sullivan, Alaska, said the Obama administration was «once again capitulating to the demands of extreme environmental groups over Alaskans and their fellow Americans who want good-paying jobs, energy independence and a strong economy.»

«For nearly 8 years this administration has given lip service to an 'all of the above energy strategy,' when their actions say the opposite,» Sullivan said.


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