President Obama Permanently Bans Drilling in Arctic Ocean and Swaths of Atlantic

WASHINGTON – President Obama today announced he will permanently remove most U.S. Arctic waters and huge portions of the U.S. Atlantic ocean from oil and gas leasing. 

The following is a statement by Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This is a historic victory in our fight to save our Arctic and Atlantic waters, marine life, coastal communities and all they support.

“President Obama used a law employed by multiple presidents to establish these essential protections.  There has never been a more important time or more fragile ecosystems for this type of presidential action.      

“Today’s bold bi-lateral announcement between Canada and the United States shows North America is leading the world in preserving the Arctic for future generations.  President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau have created an indelible legacy as true stewards of the most fragile and threatened ecosystem in the world, and we urge the other Arctic leaders to follow suit."

For more on the authority President Obama used to protect our oceans, see our expert blog here.

For more on the stakes, see our expert blog here.



The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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