November 21, 2016

Obama Administration Limits Offshore Energy Exploration, Delays Dakota Access Pipeline

The Obama administration made to major energy-related announcements last week. As reported by Bloomberg, on Friday the Department of the Interior said that it would focus oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico and forgo auctions of new oil and gas drilling rights in U.S. Arctic waters. (In an announcement earlier this year, the Obama administration had already cut of development in the Atlantic region.) According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Arctic is estimated to hold 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Bloomberg noted that, while “Friday’s announcement fell short of fulfilling environmentalists’ pleas for more enduring protections that would keep U.S. Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific waters permanently off limits,” President Barack Obama could issue a declaration banning offshore drilling “any time before leaving office on Jan. 20.” 

President-elect Donald Trump could reverse that decision, or the decision to restrict development in the Atlantic and Arctic, however. 

The Obama administration also announced last week that it still needs more time to decide whether to allow construction of the Dakota Access pipeline to move forward. According to The Hill, while the Army Corps of Engineers had completed its two-month review of the project, in a statement Monday it also pledged that it “would not issue the easement necessary for construction of a stretch of the project until it has had a chance to discuss the pipeline with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.” The tribe and environmental groups oppose construction of the pipeline. However, according to Morning Consult, “Energy Transfer Partners Chief Executive Kelcy Warren said he is confident the Trump administration will swiftly approve the project.”

Click here to learn more about the Dakota Access pipeline.