[Ed. – President Pen-and-Phone prepares another last-minute action. Trump should be able to undo this one immediately.]
President Barack Obama is preparing to block the sale of new offshore drilling rights in most of the U.S. Arctic and parts of the Atlantic, a move that could indefinitely restrict oil production there, according to people familiar with the decision.
Obama will invoke a provision in a 1953 law that gives him wide latitude to withdraw U.S. waters from future oil and gas leasing, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced. Until now the law has been used mostly to permanently preserve coral reefs, walrus feeding grounds and marine sanctuaries.
Related actions by Canada, including a possible five-year pause on some activity in its share of the Beaufort Sea north of Canada’s Northwest Territories, will be announced at the same time as the U.S. action, the people said.