Obama prohibits offshore oil drilling
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama issued an order Tuesday indefinitely closing off the vast majority of U.S. Arctic offshore waters to oil and gas leasing.
The Obama administration's announcement came in conjunction with an announcement by the Canadian government that it would bar oil and gas licensing for all offshore Arctic waters there, though the Canadian decision will be reviewed every five years.
There will be no such built-in review of the Obama administration decision, however. Using the authority granted to the president by the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Land Act, Obama will "withdraw" from potential oil and gas leasing 125 million acres of the Arctic Ocean. That includes all of the Chukchi Sea and the majority of the Beaufort Sea.