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Environment

Obama Moved to Block Oil Drilling in the Arctic Ocean

The US Department of the Interior has placed the Arctic Ocean off-limits for oil or gas drilling, setting up another obstacle for Trump's energy prospects.

by VICE Staff
Nov 18 2016, 10:20pm

Photo via U.S. Geological Survey Flickr account

The Obama administration effectively placed the Arctic Ocean on its list of areas that cannot be used for oil and gas drilling, the Guardian reports.

The move comes as part of the US Department of the Interior's five-year land and ocean leasing program that outlines the best places to drill without completely fucking up the environment. While the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, off of Alaska, are believed to hold 30 percent of the world's untapped natural gas, environmentalists say the damage to its complex ecosystem could cause an environmental disaster.

"The decades-long push to drill in the Arctic has put this unique and diverse ecosystem at risk, cost tens of billions of dollars, and created significant controversy without providing the promised benefits," Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana's senior vice-president for the US, told the Guardian. "We now have the opportunity to put the old arguments behind us and work together toward a sustainable future for the Arctic region."

Donald Trump—who thinks climate change is a "hoax"—has said he wants to do away with current restrictions on oil production and cut government funding for clean energy projects. The president-elect could try to overturn the Department of the Interior's plan once he hits the White House, but for now it looks like Obama is still doing what he can to make life difficult for President Trump.

Watch: Destroying the Environment for Coal