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The Environment

A judge in Alaska has overturned U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order to allow offshore oil and gas leases in the region.

The decision was issued on Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason and, in support of earlier Barack Obama policy, prohibits leases in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea, part of the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea and a large area of the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. East Coast. In 2015, Obama stopped exploration in coastal areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and the Hanna Shoal. In 2016, he moved to protect about 98 percent of the Arctic outer continental shelf. Both actions were made with the aim of protecting polar bears, walruses, ice seals and Alaska Native villages that depend on them.

Trump’s 2017 executive order sought to open more than 120 million acres of ocean to the oil and gas industry, including 98 percent of federal Arctic Ocean waters. Read on.