UPDATE: Trump rescinds Obama’s ‘permanent’ Arctic leasing ban

Map of Obama Arctic withdrawal area. (Map: BOEM)

UPDATE: 10:02 a.m. on April 28, 2017

President Trump signed an order Friday morning rolling back restrictions President Obama imposed late last year on offshore oil leasing in the Arctic. The entire Alaska delegation was at the White House for the signing, and Trump gave Sen. Lisa Murkowski the pen.


President Trump is expected to sign an order Friday aimed at lifting his predecessor’s ban on new oil leasing in waters off Alaska’s Arctic coast.

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Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke told reporters the Trump’s order will reverse Arctic withdrawals President Obama signed in the final weeks of his presidency.

“And generally I can tell ya’, all of us should get worried about last minute actions from an administration,” Zinke said.

Obama signed and order in December to withdraw much of the Arctic, and parts of the Atlantic, from leasing for “a time period without specific expiration.” Environmentalists say the section of law Obama used, known as 12-a, doesn’t allow for a reversal. They claim it amounts to permanent protection. A legal challenge is almost inevitable.

Zinke said Trump’s order will also instruct him to review the five-year offshore leasing plan. In November, President Obama eliminated the Arctic from that plan. Zinke said he has two years to conduct the review and the current plan will remain in effect for now.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She's @lruskin on Twitter. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

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