President Trump's executive order that overturned a ban on drilling for oil in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans was ruled "unlawful and invalid" by a federal judge in Alaska on Saturday.
Just weeks before leaving office, former President Barack Obama issued an executive order which prohibited drilling in certain areas in the two oceans. But Trump signed an executive order of his own to reopen those areas, which prompted ten environmental groups to file a lawsuit in the hopes of blocking Trump's reversal.
According to the judge's ruling, Trump will need congressional approval to do so. The judge, Sharon Gleason, wrote that a president only has the authority to withdraw lands from consideration for drilling. The office does not, she said, have the power to revoke a prior withdrawal.
"This is a great victory for the Arctic, its polar bears, other wildlife, and communities," Kristen Monsell, an attorney for the Center of Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against the Trump administration, told The Wall Street Journal. "It's absolutely the right outcome under the law and for the sake of our planet."
Gleason's decision could face appeal. But if it is not overturned, Congress will have to approve Trump's expansion plans, which the Journal reports seems unlikely given Democratic control of the House.