Mar 31, 2019

Trump executive order on Arctic Ocean drilling unlawful, judge rules

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

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.