Two days after widespread media reports predicted it, on Friday the administration of US President Barack Obama blocked oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters, according to Reuters and the Associated Press.
The announcement was part of the release of the Department of the Interior’s five-year leasing plan. It allows for no exploration or production in the Chukchi Sea or the Beaufort Sea.
And it also confirmed a decision from earlier this year that there will be no new drilling licensed in US Atlantic waters either.
As expected, environmental groups hailed the plan while energy industry sources disparaged it. But it may all be overturned once President Elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, 2017.
Trump has pledged to lift all manner of regulations. Reversing this plan may take some time, though, with some political and industry experts saying it would be at least several months, possibly as long as two years.