Mar 30, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Trump executive order on Arctic Ocean drilling unlawful, judge rules

 Alaska, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Campsite on Arctic Ocean Sand Spit to Brooks Mountains.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Campsite on Arctic Ocean Sand Spit to Brooks Mountains, Alaska. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

President Trump's executive order reversing an Obama-era ban on offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean is unlawful, a federal judge in Alaska has ruled.

Why it matters: Why it matters: U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason's ruling against Trump's 2017 order reinstates a ban on offshore drilling a in wide region off Alaska's coast and part of the Atlantic Ocean.

What she's saying: Gleason ruled Trump's order "exceeded the President's authority." "The wording of President Obama's 2015 and 2016 withdrawals indicates that he intended them to extend indefinitely, and therefore be revocable only by an act of Congress," said Gleason, who was nominated to the bench by Obama.

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Ben Geman: Legal hurdles are just one of many uncertainties clouding the potential for Arctic offshore drilling, despite what are thought to be huge hydrocarbon deposits in the region. Projects in the harsh seas are expensive, and companies have a wealth of other opportunities to pursue in the lower 48 states and elsewhere. 

Go deeper: A new phase in the Arctic drilling battle

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