Trump to rescind Obama’s ‘permanent’ Arctic leasing ban

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Obama signed an order in December to withdraw much of the Arctic, and parts of the Atlantic, from leasing for “a time period without specific expiration.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Trump is expected to sign an order Friday aimed at lifting his predecessor’s ban on new oil leasing in waters off Alaska’s Arctic coast.

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke told reporters the Trump’s order will reverse Arctic withdrawals President Obama signed in the final weeks of his presidency.

“And generally I can tell ya’, all of us should get worried about last minute actions from an administration,” Zinke said.

Obama signed an order in December to withdraw much of the Arctic, and parts of the Atlantic, from leasing for “a time period without specific expiration.” Environmentalists say the section of law Obama used, known as 12-a, doesn’t allow for a reversal. They claim it amounts to permanent protection. A legal challenge is almost inevitable.

Zinke said Trump’s order will also instruct him to review the five-year offshore leasing plan. In November, President Obama eliminated the Arctic from that plan. Zinke said he has two years to conduct the review and the current plan will remain in effect for now.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Arctic offshore drilling too dangerous: Trudeau, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland carbon neutral by 2045 says country’s environment minister, Yle News

Germany: Cheap oil from the Arctic? Fake news, says climate economist Kemfert, blog by Irene Quaile, Deutsche Welle

Norway: Norway proposes massive opening of Arctic shelf to oil drilling, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: European Parliament calls for ban on oil drilling in icy waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Big Russian oil conquers new Arctic region, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedes discover new Barents oil and gas, Radio Sweden

United States: Arctic waters off limits to oil & gas activities say Canada-U.S. in joint statement, Eye on the Arctic

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Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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