A federal judge in Alaska has declared that President Donald Trump's executive order offering offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean is "unlawful and invalid" because he has "left his authority."
of ocean acres established by Barack Obama wants to remain in effect.
US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled Friday that the Outer Continental Shelves Lands Act that provides for an offshore drilling access only allows a president to withdraw from consideration by the Interior Department for leasing – not to revoke a prior withdrawal. Obama withdrew some 125 million acres in the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic Coast from oil leasing in memoranda in 2015 and 2016.
Trump's executive order "is unlawful, as it has overthrew the president's authority," she wrote.
"The wording of President Obama's 2015 and 2016 withdrawals indicates that it is intended to extend indefinitely, and therefore revocable only by an act of Congress, "Gleason noted. Environmentalists hailed the ruling.
"This victory shows that no one, not even Trump, is above the law," Gene Karpinsky, President of the League of Conservation Voters,
"Offshore drilling and the associated trash of devastating oil spills puts coastal economies and ways of life at risk while worsening the consequences of climate change. President Trump wanted to erase all the environmental progress we've made. But we're fought back and we won. "
Environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society, filed suit after Trump signed the order reversing Obama's ban in 2017. The American Petroleum Institute and the state of Alaska joined the Trump administration in defending the order.
The ruling is expected to be appended to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- This article has been published on HuffPost.