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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

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.

2 hours ago - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.

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