Boring but important
Obama blocks Arctic drilling
President Obama banned new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean this week, two months before Donald Trump’s inauguration—making it nearly impossible for the Republican presidentelect to allow U.S. drilling in the area in the near future. Obama’s five-year offshore plan allows oil exploration to proceed in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, but blocks the sale of drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas north of Alaska. Environmentalists argued that Arctic drilling would exacerbate climate change and endanger whales and other sea life. Trump has expressed skepticism that climate change is real, but to reverse Obama’s ban he would have to restart a regulatory review process that could take as long as two years to complete.