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Trudeau Joins Obama in Freezing Arctic Offshore Oil Drilling

2.8 million arctic acres along Alaska's northeast coastline exempt from freeze

December 21, 2016

Bloomberg.com reports Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined President Obama, coordinating the efforts of both nations to freeze new offshore oil and gas drilling in more than 100 million acres of the U.S. Arctic and undersea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.

Yesterday, Obama made all of the U.S. Chukchi Sea and the vast majority of the U.S. side of the Beaufort Sea -- all but 2.8 million acres near the shore -- indefinitely off limits for future oil and gas leasing. 

"These actions, and Canada’s parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on Earth," Obama said in a written statement. "They reflect the scientific assessment that even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited."

In Canada, all Arctic waters will be designated as off-limits to new oil and gas licensing, Trudeau said, without specifying any restrictions on existing leases held by Canadian divisions of energy giants such as BP PLC, Repsol and Exxon Mobil Corp. He left available for development waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. Trudeau said Canada will review the drilling ban every five years.

Read Bloomberg's report here.

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