Perhaps president Obama feels he hasn’t done enough to screw up the U.S. Economy, or to be nice enough to the people who believe the global warming hypothesis so he acted to send one last “up yours” to the economy, to thousands of jobs, and America’s long-term ability to provide relatively cheap energy with a drilling ban.
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it will place an indefinite ban on offshore oil and gas drilling across large parts of Atlantic and Arctic waters. And he enacted the ban in a way that makes it difficult for future administrations to reverse.
Canada will block drilling in all of its Arctic Ocean acreage, a moratorium their officials will review every five years, the White House said.
Obama used a 1953 law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act ban drilling in 3.8 million acres of the Atlantic Ocean off of the East Coast of the United States (from southern Virginia to off of Cape Cod) and 115 million acres in the Arctic Ocean, including all of the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska, and most of the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s northern edge.
U.S.-owned acreage in the Arctic is estimated to contain 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas according to The Hill.
Imagine the jobs, tax revenue drilling for those energy resources with bring. And don’t underestimate the value of a cheaper American-made energy supply– that oil and natural gas could contribute to enticing more companies to stay into or move to the United States.
The 1953 law allows presidents to withdraw lands from future leasing. It’s been used by previous presidents to restrict drilling on both the east and west coasts, but in those cases the presidents included an expiration date with the ban. Obama’s bans do not have an end date and since the law doesn’t have a provision for a president to reverse the ban, it may tie the hands of future presidents.
Because the president was making the ban under a provision of an existing law, it will be difficult to overturn because as we all know most presidents (other than Obama) realize that they are required to implement the law. During his presidency, Obama has refused to defend laws he didn’t agree with (such as DOMA for example) therefore, his use of this 1953 law to tie Donald Trump’s hands is both cynical and ironic.