Federal Judge Rules Against Trump Drilling in Arctic & Atlantic Oceans

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It is widely known that the Trump administration has been a detriment to the environment since Mr. Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, a wealthy oil executive, who denies climate change.

In 2017, Mr. Trump signed an executive order attempting to revoke an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. On Friday, a federal judge declared that the executive order was unlawful.

According to The New York Times:

‘The decision, by Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, concluded late Friday that President Barack Obama’s 2015 and 2016 withdrawal from drilling of about 120 million acres of Arctic Ocean and about 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic “will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.”’

Judge Gleason said the April 2017 order “is unlawful, as it exceeded the president’s authority.”

The Times reported:

‘The decision, which is expected to be appealed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, immediately reinstates the drilling ban on most of the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska, a pristine region home to endangered species including polar bears and bowhead whales where oil companies have long sought to drill.’

It also blocks drilling along the Atlantic coast around a series of coral canyons that extend from Norfolk, Virginia, to the Canadian border which are home to unique deepwater corals and rare fish species.

The Arctic Ocean drilling case could also give some legal ammunition to opponents of Mr. Trump’s efforts to roll back protections for two million acres of national monuments created by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

According to The Times:

‘The case adds to a growing roster of legal losses for Mr. Trump’s efforts to undo Mr. Obama’s environmental legacy. Experts in environmental law estimate that the Trump administration has now lost about 40 environmental cases in federal courts.’

The federal Interior Department’s intent was to lease the Arctic waters for the purpose of oil drilling, but now the Trump administration will be forced to withdraw the waters from its forthcoming plans.

The Times reported:

‘And although Friday’s court decision relates specifically to a law on offshore drilling, it could also hamstring Mr. Trump’s efforts to erase or reduce the creation of large protected areas of public lands by previous presidents.’

Perhaps, Linda J. Bilmes described it best in an op-ed to The Boston Globe:

‘HUMPTY DUMPTY famously cannot be “put back together” again. For those who care about the environment, every day since Donald Trump took office is a Humpty Dumpty day —with something being broken beyond repair.’

She goes on to mention that Mr. Trump’s 2019 spending plan, first introduced back in February 2018, intended to gut the the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and especially NOAA, meaning that the budget would force the agency to stop protecting coastal estuaries, Pacific salmon, and marine mammals.

Bilmes is indeed correct in that Mr. Trump seems to destroy anything he touches especially all of that the things that significantly matter – the environment, healthcare, and education just to name a few.

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