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Trump administration to appeal offshore drilling decision

The Trump administration will formally appeal a court decision that keeps permanent protections for oil and natural gas drilling, according to a notice filed with the US District Court for the District of Alaska Tuesday.

In March, Judge Sharon Gleason of the US District Court for the District of Alaska ruled that a permanent ban on drilling in about 115 million acres of the US Arctic Ocean and 3.8 million acres in the north and mid-Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast “will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.”
The decision will be appealed according to the notice the US Department of Justice filed Wednesday.

Former President Barack Obama put the ban in place in his final days in office, but President Donald Trump had attempted to reverse the order as part of his plan to open more federal waters to drilling. Obama had withdrawn the entire US Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea from future oil and gas drilling.

The ruling complicated the administration’s path forward on its draft proposal and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said the plan remains on pause as an appeal is considered.

“I’ve paused it until I figure out the pathway,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said last week during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

In a statement Wednesday, Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, one of several environmental groups named as defendants in the case, said the Trump administration does not have the authority to reverse permanent protections.

“We look forward to defending the district court’s decision at the 9th Circuit,” Karpinski said. “Offshore drilling and the associated threat of devastating oil spills puts coastal economies and ways of life at risk while worsening the consequences of climate change.”

Source: Platts

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