Obama Makes It Much Harder for Trump to Drill in the Arctic
Presidents uses 1953 law to ban oil leases in much of Arctic, Atlantic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 20, 2016 5:19 PM CST
In this May 14, 2015, file photo, the oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer is towed toward a dock in Elliott Bay in Seattle.   (Elaine Thompson)

(Newser) – President Obama has designated the bulk of US-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean as indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing, the AP reports. The move on Tuesday helps put some finishing touches on Obama's environmental legacy while also testing President-elect Donald Trump's promise to unleash the nation's untapped energy reserves.

Environmental groups hope the ban, despite relying on executive powers, will be difficult for future presidents to reverse. The White House says Obama has used a provision in a 1953 law to ban offshore leases in the waters permanently. The Atlantic waters placed off limits are 31 canyons stretching off the coast of New England south to Virginia. Canada is also placing a moratorium on new leasing in its Arctic waters.

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