September 19, 2020

A judge prevents Trump from allowing oil exploration of the Arctic and the Atlantic

A judge prevents Trump from allowing oil exploration of the Arctic and the Atlantic



A judge in Alaska blocked an initiative by US President Donald Trump on Friday night to allow oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, a victory for environmentalists. They had opposed the measure.

In a court order, which Efe agreed to today, Judge Sharon Gleason considered Trump's attempt "illegal" to allow the drilling of some 50.6 million hectares, which include two icy seas of the Arctic Ocean: Sea of ​​Beaufort and Chukotka, where the indigenous Chucotos live.

The decision of the magistrate leaves intact a policy that had been adopted in 2015 by the then US president, Barack Obama, to protect those areas of great ecological value.

Judge Gleason said that Obama's prohibitions "will remain in effect until Congress revokes them" and considered that, in his attempt to allow drilling, Trump had "exceeded the powers granted him by the Presidency" under a 1953 law to oil and gas exploration.

Specifically, according to the magistrate, that law establishes that presidents have the power to decide that certain zones can not be drilled, as Obama did; but only Congress has the capacity to authorize these explorations in search of gas and oil.

For that reason, the magistrate affirms that Trump needs the backing of the Congress to take forward that measure and auction the drilling rights among the big oil companies.

The ruling is a defeat for both the president and the oil companies that for years have dreamed of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic waters, which hide some 30,000 million barrels of oil recoverable, according to the calculations of the Service US Geological Survey

Ecological groups, such as the Sierra Club, celebrated the ruling and hoped that it would serve as a lesson for Trump.

"Once again, the courts remind Donald Trump that he is not above the law and that he can not sell the land and water of the Americans without caring about the climate or public opinion, we will continue to fight against this destructive and in favor agenda. of contamination ", promised Lena Moffitt, director of the Sierra Club campaign on this issue.

The ruling is not final and the Trump government could appeal it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with jurisdiction over the judgments of Alaska and other states.

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