republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
The joint U.S.-Canada statement issued by the White House on Tuesday permanently blocked 115 million acres of the Arctic Ocean — including all of the Chukchi Sea and the vast majority of the Beaufort Sea — from energy development. Said the statement:
Randall Luthi, president of the oil industry group National Ocean Industries Association, said “The arrogance of the decision is unfathomable, but unfortunately not surprising.”
Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski’s response was slightly more measured: “President Obama has once again treated the Arctic like a snow globe, ignoring the desires of the people who live, work, and raise a family there. I cannot wait to work with the next administration to reverse this decision.”
Erik Milito, of the American Petroleum Institute (API), was equally optimistic about overturning Obama’s pronouncement:
President Bill Clinton placed a temporary ban on developing certain offshore areas, which was reversed in 2008 by President George W. Bush. But that ban was temporary and this one is permanent.
Obama can be chided for an act that appears infantile, in retaliation for Trump’s victory over Clinton last month. It can be characterized as a last-minute rebuff to the incoming administration’s determination to open presently off-limits areas to energy development. It can be construed as a final bone to be tossed to environmentalists who remain adamant in their belief that all natural resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal must remain in the ground “where they belong.” Some have concluded that this is Obama’s final attempt to secure a permanent and lasting “legacy” for his administration.
What President Obama has likely done, however, is to leave a legacy of obstruction, intending to damage America’s ability to become energy self-sufficient. That’s the legacy that is most likely to endure.