ban oil and gas leases, Yuri Gripars Reuters ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, arctic conservation, arctic ocean, ocean environmentalistCanadian Prime Minister Trudeau joined with President Obama to ban oil and gas leases in the Arctic and Atlantic. Obama had just announced his ban on oil and gas drilling effecting more than 100 million acres of US waters. Trudeau’s simultaneous announcement committed Canada to a similar freeze on new offshore leases that affected Canadian Arctic Waters.

 

Protecting a Sensitive and Unique Ecosystem

Obama in making his announcement stated “These actions, and Canada’s parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on Earth” and that his actions “Reflect the scientific assessment that even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited.”

Obama used an obscure statute from 1953 that has no explicit provision for reversal, which could deter any attempt by President Elect Trump to countermand Obama’s ban, which is seen as a major victory by environmental activists who have been calling for this action.

Breaking News: see our latest update on Trump’s attempts to slash environmental programs and the EPA, read:  Trump Attacks EPA and Marine Protected Areas and: Can the Great Barrier Reef Be Saved??

 

“True Stewards of the World’s Most Fragile Ecosystem”

Jonathan Hayward, Canadian Press, ban oil and gas leases, arctic, marine conservation, Environmentalists said that to ban oil and gas leases sends a clear message that the US and Canada understand the risks of a warming climate and are ready to take action. Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that  “Today’s bold bi-lateral announcement between Canada and the United States shows North America is leading the world in preserving the Arctic for future generations,” and that “President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau have created an indelible legacy as true stewards of the most fragile and threatened ecosystem in the world, and we urge the other Arctic leaders to follow suit.”

 

The Areas Effected

offshore ban oil and gas leases, drilling, ocean conservation, renewable energy, ocean issues, marine conservationThe areas that are effected by this action to ban oil and gas leases include in the U.S. Chukchi Sea, plus a vast portion of the U.S. Beaufort Sea in the Arctic and deep canyon ecosystems off the eastern US coast in the North Atlantic.

The ban would indefinitely place these areas off limits for future oil and gas leasing. New leases in Canadian Arctic Waters would be off limits also, Trudeau explained, however existing leases and leases in the waters around Newfoundland and Labrador could still be developed.

For much more of this historic story see Bloomberg News.and CBC News.

Photo credits: Obama, Yuri Gripas,/Reuters; Trudeau, Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press; Map, The White House; Offshore oil platform, Elaine Thompson/Associated Press;