A federal judge Friday vacated President Donald Trump’s order to revoke a ban on oil and gas exploration in federal waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
Former President Barack Obama unilaterally enacted the bans near the end of his second term. Obama used powers under a 1953 law over offshore drilling to block oil lease sales on 125 million acres in Arctic seas and 4 million acres in the Atlantic Ocean.
Trump revoked Obama’s oil ban in April 2017 while the Department of the Interior conducted a larger review of the Outer Continental Shelf five-year drilling plan.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason, whom Obama appointed in 2011, effectively replaced the ban after a coalition of environmental groups sued over Trump’s executive order. Gleason agreed with the environmentalists that, while the president has the power to enact a ban under the 1953 code, the law does not expressly allow the president to remove one.
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