President Barack Obama seems poised to take his fight against climate change a step further by temporarily halting controversial oil and gas operations. After last week’s conversations with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Obama is expected to announce tough new measures: no gas or oil drilling in most of the Atlantic and nearly all of the Arctic until 2022.
The Department of the Interior is expected to announce full details of the new measures some time this week.
Last year, after ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell wanted to drill along the East Coast, Obama appeared to acquiesce to oil companies by opening up more areas for drilling. Yet resistance from coastal towns in Georgia as well as North and South Carolina incited more of a debate, with many state governors calling for drilling.
The new measures could heed the concerns of protestors and stop drilling temporarily along those areas. Drilling could still be allowed along the coast of Virginia, and one draft of the announcement revealed that licenses to drill in the Atlantic would be granted just a few years away in 2021. From there, it could still take a decade to explore potential sites and begin drilling. The full details of the plan won’t be available until the Department makes their official announcement.
The new measures may not end all oil and gas drilling entirely, but could be a stronger step in the right direction. For now, things look hopeful for environmental activists who have urged Obama to take more strident action against climate change, especially in the delicate Arctic ecosystem.
Trudeau and Obama said Arctic oil exploration “must align with science-based standards between the two nations that ensure appropriate preparation for operating in Arctic conditions, including robust and effective well control and emergency response measures.” It now seems the President could be ready to act on that statement.
Via The Guardian