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Judge condemns trump contract for oil rental in the Arctic and Atlantic



ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 30 (Reuters) – A federal judge in Alaska has overturned US President Donald Trump's attempt to open oil and gas leases across much of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

The decision was announced late Friday US District Court judge Sharon Gleason leaves President Barack Obama's policies untouched, making the Arctic Chukchi Sea, part of the Arctic Beaufort Sea, and much of the Atlantic off the east coast of the US oil rigging are prohibited.

Trump's Attempt to Revoke Obama's protection was "unlawful" and a violation of federal law on outer continental shelf areas, Gleason judged. Presidents have the power under this law to withdraw areas from the national oil and gas leasing program, as Obama did, but only Congress has the power to add areas to the leasing program, she said.

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See gallery [19659009] SHISHMAREF, AK – JULY 9: The village of Shishmaref, Alaska sits on the Chukchi Sea, on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling for oil in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi Sea. Shishmaref also had to build a bank wall due to a decade-long problem with coastal erosion, which is shrinking the size of the barrier island on which the city was built. The city was originally to be relocated to a new location, although this plan was shelved. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – JULY 9: The Chukchi Sea is seen on July 9, 2015 near Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling Arctic regions, including the Chukchi Sea. Shishmaref also had to build a bank wall due to a decade-long problem with coastal erosion, which is shrinking the size of the barrier island on which the city was built. The city was originally to be relocated to a new location, although this plan was shelved. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – July 9: Cliff Weyiouanna relaxes in his home after having breakfast on July 9, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling in the Arctic, including the Chukchi Sea. Shishmaref also had to build a bank wall due to a decade-long problem with coastal erosion, which is shrinking the size of the barrier island on which the city was built. The city was originally to be relocated to a new location, although this plan was shelved. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – JULY 8: A view of the beach along a barrier island in the Chukchi Sea, can be seen on July 8, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling in the Arctic, including the Chukchi Sea, to trouble the region's residents and disappoint environmentalists. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – July 7: The tide comes at a beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling in the Arctic, including the Chukchi Sea, to trouble the region's residents and disappoint environmentalists. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – July 7: Rusting barrels sit at the beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling in the Arctic, including the Chukchi Sea, to trouble the region's residents and disappoint environmentalists. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – July 7: A house lies on the edge of the Chukchi Sea on July 7, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling in the Arctic, including the Chukchi Sea, to trouble the region's residents and disappoint environmentalists. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – JULY 8: Wildflowers grow on a beach along the Chukchi Sea on July 8, 2015 in Shishmaref, Alaska. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin drilling in the Arctic, including the Chukchi Sea, to trouble the region's residents and disappoint environmentalists. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

SHISHMAREF, AK – JULY 9: The village of Shishmaref, Alaska, which lies at the Chukchi Sea, is seen on July 9, 2015. Earlier this year, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil to begin oil drilling in Arctic regions, including the Chukchi Sea. Shishmaref also had to build a bank wall due to a decade-long problem with coastal erosion, which is shrinking the size of the barrier island on which the city was built. The city was originally to be relocated to a new location, although this plan was shelved. (Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images)




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Obama's bans on leases "remain in full force unless Congress revokes them," Gleason said in her ruling.

Trump's attempt to reintroduce the offshore Arctic and Atlantic regions into oil development was ordered in 2017 in an order that was part of his Energy Dominance agenda. The mandate was part of a series of measures that overruled the Obama administration's environmental and climate change initiatives.

The Trump government has proposed launching a greatly expanded offshore oil leasing program this year. The five-year Trump leasing program would allow two leases per year in Arctic waters and at least two leases per year in the Atlantic. The Trump Plan also foresees several leases in remote marine areas off Alaska, such as the southern Bering Sea, which are considered negligible oil potential.

Obama had withdrawn much of the Arctic from a difficult offshore area from the auction block Royal Dutch Shell Arctic exploration program. Shell spends at least $ 7 billion exploring the Chukchi and part of the Beaufort. The company destroyed one of its drillships in a grounding and managed to sink only one hole. He abandoned the program in 2015 and gave up his leases.

Gleason had made another decision in another case on Friday that blocked the Trump administration's efforts to lift an environmental decision from the Obama era.

Gleason knocked down an intended land trade to pave the way for a road built through fragile wetlands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The Obama administration, after a four-year environmental impact assessment process, ruled that land trafficking and road traffic caused too much damage to the shelter. Trump's then Home Secretary, Ryan Zinke, violated the law when he briefly reversed Obama's policy, ignoring the facts found in the government's earlier study on the issue, Gleason said. (Report by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage, Alaska, editorial by James Dalgleish)


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