22 December, 2016
Obama's move was part of a joint action with Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made long-term, though not permanent, commitments to protect the Arctic from drilling. Environmental organizations, including NextGen Climate, have urged Obama in recent months to use his power to safeguard these areas from future drilling, noting Trump's "dangerous agenda".
What makes Tuesday's announcement on the ban on drilling different from other executive actions is that it is grounded in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, which says that the president has the right reserve some offshore areas and keep them off the market.
Sivas said that if Alaska, or a state affected by new bans, were to challenge the administration in court over whether it has the authority to lock up a potential source of economic benefits derived from oil and gas development, that could be a stronger challenge than going after Section 12 (a) authority but could result in the courts overturning the permanent withdrawals.
Even if the Trump administration manages to reverse the move, petroleum industry interest in the area is not now high. In the waning months of his presidency, Obama has taken numerous actions to further cement his climate legacy, including outlining a path for climate change resiliency, formally joining the Paris climate pact and quadrupling the marine monument surrounding the remote northwestern Hawaiian Islands. They cited a 2008 memorandum by President George W. Bush that lifted a temporary ban in certain offshore areas imposed by President Bill Clinton.
Obama withdrew 125 million acres - the entire Chukchi Sea and a "significant portion" of the Beaufort Sea, as well as 31 underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean - "for a time period without specific expiration". "Fortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent ban, and we look forward to working with the new administration on fulfilling the will of American voters on energy production", said Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, poised to head the US Department of Energy, also served as a board member of the Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics-the gas companies behind the Dakota Access pipeline.
This is why F1 champion Nico Rosberg quit!
Rosberg narrowly held off his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for this year's Driver's Championships. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me.
In a historic move taken a month to the day before he hands over the White House to one of the most fossil-fueled administrations in US history, President Obama answered the call of Native Alaskans, coastal residents and climate activists demanding offshore drilling bans, and stuck it to Donald Trump.
Some oil industry leaders believe the Trump administration can easily reverse President Barack Obama's order.
"This decision will help protect existing lucrative coastal tourism and fishing businesses from offshore drilling, which promises smaller, short-lived returns and threatens coastal livelihoods", said Jacqueline Savitz, the advocacy group Oceana's senior vice president.
"The extremes to which this president will go to appease special interests never ceases to amaze", countered Utah Republican Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Murray Energy, he said, has sued the Obama Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. "This is not a moral calling; it's an abuse of power".