President Donald Trump surpassed his authority in lifting the ban on offshore drilling across much of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of Atlantic gorges, a US judge said in a ruling that re-enforced the restrictions of the Obama era.
US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason issued a ruling in a ruling overturning Trump's order, which lifted the bans that make up an important part of Obama's environmental heritage.
Under federal law, presidents have the power to remove certain lands from development, but they can not revoke these removals, Gleason said.
"The wording of President Obama's resignations in 201
A Justice Department spokesman, Jeremy Edwards, declined to comment on Saturday.
The American Petroleum Institute, a defendant in the case, disapproved of the verdict.
"In addition to providing consumers with affordable energy for decades, the development of our rich offshore resources can bring billions of government revenues, create thousands of jobs, and strengthen our national security," a statement said.
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Erik Grafe, attorney at Earthjustice, welcomed the verdict and said it "shows the President can not trample on the Constitution to give up his cronies' bid in the fossil fuel industry Costs of our oceans, wildlife, and climate. "
Earthjustice represented numerous environmental groups who sued the Trump government in April 2017 when they lifted the drilling bans. The matter was about the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Acting Assistant US Attorney General Jeffrey Wood said at a Gleason hearing in November that environmental groups misinterpreted the intent of the 1953 law. He said it was flexible and reasonable and not meant to tie a president's decisions that someone else has made when he determines the offshore responsibilities, as needs and realities change over time.
In 2015, Obama stopped exploring the shores of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas as well as Hanna Shoal, an area of importance to walruses. At the end of 2016, he retreated most of the other potential leases of the Arctic Ocean – about 98 percent of the Arctic's outer continental shelf.
The bans should protect polar bears, walruses, ice seals and Alaskan Indian villages, which are dependent on the animals.
In the Atlantic, Obama banned the exploration of underwater canyon complexes covering 5,937 square kilometers (15,377 square kilometers), citing their importance for marine mammals, deep-water corals, valuable fish stocks and supplies.