Fairbanks, AK. In response to a legal challenge from conservation and Alaska Native groups, a U.S. District Court Judge blocked President Trump’s executive order attempting to reverse permanent protections from offshore drilling for the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is the lead plaintiff in the case, which is the first time in LCV’s 50 year history the group has sued an administration. The case is League of Conservation Voters et al v Donald J. Trump et al. The decision can be found here.
The challenge, filed in federal district court in Alaska, was prompted by Trump’s action exceeding his constitutional and statutory authority supposedly revoking permanent protections for virtually the entire Arctic Ocean and sensitive parts of the Atlantic, posing unacceptable risks to these waters and the people that depend on them. The case is jointly represented by attorneys from Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“This victory shows that no one, not even Trump, is above the law,” said Gene Karpinski, LCV president. “Offshore drilling and the associated threat of devastating oil spills puts coastal economies and ways of life at risk while worsening the consequences of climate change. President Trump wanted to erase all the environmental progress we’ve made, but we fought back and we won.”
“Thank you to our friends at NRDC and Earthjustice, who are representing us and other plaintiffs in this litigation, and all the partners involved in this effort–especially groups representing the Alaskans whose way of life would be most impacted by this destructive drilling.”
Judge Sharon Gleason’s decision:
- Immediately restores permanent protections from drilling to 98% of the Arctic Ocean and uniquely important deepwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Forces the Trump administration to reconsider its aggressive national five-year leasing program for the outer continental shelf in light of the reinstatement of these protections.
- Prevents the Trump administration from holding the six offshore lease sales it proposed to schedule in the Arctic Ocean starting as early as this year.
The coalition consists of League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and The Wilderness Society.