Later today the White House will issue executive orders overturning President Obama’s use of the Outer Continental Shelf Act (OCSLA) to block oil and gas development in the majority of the U.S Arctic, and directing the Department of the Interior to implement a new leasing schedule, including the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Commenting, Oliver Williams, spokesperson for the Arctic Energy Center, issued the following statement:
“Though there’s no precedent to suggest a moratorium can’t be overturned, there is one for a President to lift previous restrictions; George W. Bush’s decision to rescind a ban in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico in 2008. Given that the Obama administration clearly ignored that OCSLA’s primary intention is to ensure the outer continental shelf is ‘available for expeditious and orderly development’, we believe that today’s executive order will stand-up in court.
“Industry interest in the Arctic has steadily begun to revive over the last six months. Today’s announcement will help catalyze further activity and is a crucial first step in ensuring that we can responsibly take advantage of the Arctic’s huge resource potential in the 2020’s and beyond.”