More Ruling by Decree from Barack Obama

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.

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17 thoughts on “More Ruling by Decree from Barack Obama

  1. It’s by Roger Harrabin, so is no more a news report than a George Monbiot opinion piece in the Guardian is. Anyway, I liked this part:

    President Obama is heeding advice from scientists warning that humans have already discovered three times more fossil fuels than we can burn without risking the climate.

    Remember this bit next time these same scientists tell us we need renewables because the oil is running out.

  2. Remember this bit next time these same scientists tell us we need renewables because the oil is running out.

    Indeed.

  3. Three things:

    Rick Perry Head of the Department of Energy

    Scott Pruitt Head of the Environmental Protection Agency

    Congressional Review Act as a means to rescind Obama’s regulations.

  4. This touches on so many things.

    1) Ah, the lingering idiocy of the Obumble years, which deserves much longer comment than I can be arsed with here;

    2) Friends of the Erf, which is a lunatic organisation and knows nothing other than political posturing (see no.1 above) and precious little about how our dear old planet and for that matter society actually functions;

    3) The flimsy spectre, imagined and insubstantial, of International law. This is a series of mutual agreements and not something enforceable elsewhere, especially when the most powerful nation on the planet — despite No.1’s endless efforts to make it third world in every way — simply will say, ‘no.’ The BBC is as thick as the FoE so they wouldn’t understand that;

    4) As we only had 10 years to save the planet eleven years ago and only had five years to save the planet seven years or so ago then I take careful note of all such predictions. Much the same way many old emperors listened to petitions and said ‘yes’ or merely ‘noted’ them. The former meant what the boss said, the second meant ‘No, don’t be so stupid, and now fuck off.’

  5. Probably OT but I recall an episode of The West Wing where the president decared somewhere a national park. The point was that, yes, this in the president’s power and doesn’t require congressional aproval, and also it is quite difficult to overturn. If anyone knows if that was fiction or not I’d be interested to know.

  6. I recall Obama saying, some time in 2007 I think (at any rate a little while before he won the nomination) that American foreign policy under Bush had been ‘nothing but unilateral military interventions’. Demonstrably wrong, I knew then that he was a wrong ‘un, and he has been almost exactly as bad as I expected.

    “Much the same way many old emperors listened to petitions and said ‘yes’ or merely ‘noted’ them. The former meant what the boss said, the second meant ‘No, don’t be so stupid, and now fuck off.’”
    La reine s’avisera, as Queen Anne once said.

  7. Coal prices are looking very bullish though.

    In northeastern England, a battle is raging between grass roots campaigners and a company intent on digging a new open cast mine as world coal prices soar.
    A year after Britain closed its last deep coal mine and pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation, the economics of mining have been transformed.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/breaking-news/coal-surge-sets-miners-against-activists/news-story/de9a7b12dff40dee9cbdf7ab2da8db76

  8. paving the way to an Arctic drilling deal

    I hope he does so, literally. I’d like to take one of my gas-guzzling Italian steeds on a jaunt into the Arctic to see the Northern Lights from the comfort of my leather-and-carbon fiber cockpit.
    I have a t-shirt that would look good on a trip like that. It shows a picture of the globe with a wide two-lane roadway running diagonally across it and the caption “Pave the Planet.” On the back it says “One World – One People – One Strip of Asphalt.” I have had it for a long time, obviously. I don’t think this would be acceptable to sell anymore.

  9. I have a t-shirt that would look good on a trip like that. It shows a picture of the globe with a wide two-lane roadway running diagonally across it and the caption “Pave the Planet.” On the back it says “One World – One People – One Strip of Asphalt.”

    Hehehehehehehe! I want one!

  10. It is just some dog mess left behind by Obama for Trump to step in.

    He will know it is not binding and that Trump probably will reverse it which will give the howler moneys in the eco-loonie sector something to raise their voices about.

    It is a way of keeping Obama’s climate change insanity in the headlines and living on, and embarrassing Trump.

  11. Pardon me, if a previous administration may not be overturned by a subsequent one, does that mean Prohibition and Slavery, for example, are still in effect? That cannot be the case as I thought any future President, senate and/or congress is perfectly capable of doing just that.

  12. In the spirit of hedgehog…

    A (near) relative of mine went to work for a time at the UK’s Environment Agency. She was told, on day one, she could have a name plate — printed on recycled card, natch — of any image she wanted. When she told me later I expressed disappointment that she had not gone for what I would have opted for: a picture of a globe in flames.

    But she was always more sensible than me.

  13. @Mr Angry:
    Prohibition (and its repeal) and abolition of slavery were enacted by amending the Constitution. Only another amendment can change them.

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