Obama Bans Future Oil Leases in much of Arctic, Atlantic

FILE – Oct. 5, 2016, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The cerebral interstellar saga “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the android drama “Blade Runner” are among Obama’s favorite sci-fi films and TV shows. Obama shared his must-watch list of movies and TV shows to “expand your mind to new horizons” in the November issue of Wired magazine. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama has designated the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in theArcticOcean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean as indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing.

The move on Tuesday helps put some finishing touches on Obama’s environmental legacy while also testing President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to unleash the nation’s untapped energy reserves.

Environmental groups hope the ban, despite relying on executive powers, will be difficult for future presidents to reverse.

The White House says Obama has used a provision in a 1953 law to ban offshore leases in the waters permanently.

The Atlantic waters placed off limits are 31 canyons stretching off the coast of New England south to Virginia.

Canada is also placing a moratorium on new leasing in itsArcticwaters.

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