WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Obama withdrew 115 million acres of the Arctic Ocean and 21 underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean from future oil and gas development. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act vests the president with the authority to withdraw unleased offshore areas from future oil and gas drilling. President Obama has already used this law to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay, the Bering Sea, and part of the Chukchi Sea.
Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:
Today’s announcement is a major victory for our oceans and climate. Our offshore areas need permanent protection in the face of Donald Trump’s pledge to expand offshore drilling and his cabinet’s ties to Big Oil. We must afford the same protections to the people of the Gulf of Mexico, which has become an energy sacrifice zone.
Donald Trump’s actions since the election have made clear that he will put Big Oil’s profits above Americans’ public health. No president has ever rescinded a previous president’s permanent withdrawal of offshore areas from oil and gas development. If Donald Trump tries to reverse President Obama’s withdrawals, he will find himself in court.
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.