Apparently Barack Obama doesn’t think America resembles a banana republic quite enough, and is keen to do something about that before he leaves office. From the BBC:
Outgoing US President Barack Obama has permanently banned offshore oil and gas drilling in the “vast majority” of US-owned northern waters.
Permanently? Just like that?
Mr Obama designated areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as “indefinitely off limits” to future leasing.
The move is widely seen as an attempt to protect the region before Mr Obama leaves office in January.
Apparently eight years in office wasn’t long enough.
Supporters of president-elect Donald Trump could find it difficult to reverse the decision.
I imagine Trump’s supporters would find reversing Obama’s decisions difficult, yes. Trump himself? Maybe not so much.
Canada also committed to a similar measure in its own Arctic waters, in a joint announcement with Washington.
The White House said the decision was for “a strong, sustainable and viable Arctic economy and ecosystem.” It cited native cultural needs, wildlife concerns, and the “vulnerability” of the region to oil spills as some of the reasons for the ban.
Counterarguments such as jobs and energy independence from the rapidly imploding Middle East were presumably not considered.
But while Canada will review the move every five years, the White House insists Mr Obama’s declaration is permanent.
Read that again – “Mr Obama’s declaration is permament” – and remind yourself this is the USA and not Venezuela or Zimbabwe.
The decision relies on a 1953 law which allows the president to ban leasing of offshore resources indefinitely.
Really? Which law? The BBC doesn’t tell us, I suspect because this law allows for no such thing.
During the election campaign, Donald Trump said he would take advantage of existing US oil reserves, prompting concern from environmental groups.
But supporters have already suggested that any attempt to reverse the “permanent” decision outlined by the law would be open to a legal challenge.
Leave aside the idiotic belief that an administration can bind its successors and that a mechanism exists which allows Obama to declare something into law but doesn’t allow the next president to reverse it. Let’s look at the fact that these idiots never learn. If indeed Obama is allowed to make laws simply by issuing decrees from his office that completely bypass Congress and cannot be reversed, then Donald Trump is going to avail himself of those exact same powers in just over a month’s time, isn’t he? Is that what everyone wants?
Reacting to the Arctic declaration, Friends of the Earth said: “No president has ever rescinded a previous president’s permanent withdrawal of offshore areas from oil and gas development.
That’s probably because no former president has been idiotic enough to do such a thing via last-minute declaration as he’s packing his bags to leave. But I’m glad the clowns at Friends of the Earth understand the concept of precedent: they might find Trump is using this word a lot soon suffixed with the phrase “set by Obama”.
“If Donald Trump tries to reverse President Obama’s withdrawals, he will find himself in court.”
In which court? On what charges? Perhaps the BBC could have asked Friends of the Earth such basic questions.
However, the American Petroleum Institute said “there is no such thing as a permanent ban,” and that it hoped Mr Trump’s administration would simply reverse the decision.
Ah, finally somebody sensible.
Oil firms will still want to explore for further profits, though.
And there was me thinking oil companies explored for reserves. Such high quality journalism is what Brits are forced to pay £3.5bn a year for.
And the next secretary of state, Exxon’s Rex Tillerson, may offer the industry a route round the ban by paving the way to an Arctic drilling deal with Russia.
What garbled rubbish is this? Obama’s declaration – assuming it is worth anything – concerns US arctic waters. Drilling in non-US waters is no more “getting around the ban” than drinking in a bar in Paris is “getting around” the Saudi ban on alcohol consumption. And the “Arctic drilling deal” they refer to is an exploration pact between ExxonMobil and Rosneft, not “the industry” and “Russia”.
Very little oil drilling currently takes place in the Arctic region, as it is more expensive and difficult than other available options.
Well, yes. It’s almost as if Obama’s declaration is mere posturing.