Info Panel
You are here:   Home  /  U.S. Policy  /  Arctic Drilling Ban

Arctic Drilling Ban

Dec. 2016

President Obama announces that 98 percent of U.S.-controlled Arctic waters (115 million acres) and 3.8 million acres of underwater canyon along the Atlantic coast will be permanently withheld from any future oil and gas leasing under the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

President Obama noted that “[These actions] reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited… By contrast, it would take decades to fully develop the production infrastructure necessary for any large-scale oil and gas leasing production in the region — at a time when we need to continue to move decisively away from fossil fuels.” Simultaneously, the Canadian government announces it will withdraw all oil and gas leases in Canadian Arctic waters.* The Wall Street Journal’s editorial response: “This rule even purports to be ‘permanent,’ unchangeable by any future President for all time. We’ll see about that, but in the meantime spare us the liberal panic about Donald Trump’s supposed authoritarianism… No policy decisions are engraved in stone as if through holy stenography, and they’re definitely not beyond democratic consent on the basis of a 63-year-old law.”**

*Samantha Page, “Obama Permanently Protects Huge Portions of Arctic, Atlantic from Offshore Drilling,” ThinkProgress, December 20, 2016,
**Editorial Board, “Obama’s ‘Permanent’ Drilling Freeze,” Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2016,

  2016  /  U.S. Policy  /  Last Updated September 8, 2020 by Jon Donnelly  /  Tags: , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: