With Obama leaving office in less than a month, there now seems to be a dash to push things through before he departs. As has been the tenor of his administration, rather than getting things done the Constitutional way, he has to try and speak law into existence.
Once again, Obama has tried to shut down oil production in the U.S. He has done this by using some obscure law (I wonder how many lawyers it took to dig this one up?) from the 1950’s to shut down drilling in certain coastal areas.
The Washington Times reports
Vowing that his successor won’t be able to reverse his actions, President Obama on Tuesday used executive authority to permanently ban new offshore drilling in federally owned waters off the Atlantic coast and in the Arctic Ocean.
“These actions, and Canada’s parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on Earth,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “They reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited.”
It is clear that this was aimed at stopping Trump from expanding the rights to these waters once he takes office next month. But, we have to ask if this is another dog and pony show. Does the stated law give the President the power to permanently shut down drilling? Some think that it does not and never was intended to do so.
The Times continued
Rep. Jeff Duncan, South Carolina Republican and a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said Mr. Obama’s action “is a vain attempt to salvage a personal legacy for himself.” He said the legal provision is “vague and untested.”
“A permanent ban is clearly not the scope of power provided by law, nor is it in the interest of the United States,” Mr. Duncan said. “However, I am not shocked at his willingness to put his political legacy before his country. Instead of listening to rebuke after rebuke of his policies in successive elections, he would rather act like a king. Governors in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have all agreed energy exploration off the coast would be a blessing to our states, and yet he ignores the will of the American people.”
It also may be possible that Obama is setting up false battles for Trump to fight. This would serve to distract him from doing the other things that he has promised. If Obama can get Trump worried about oil drilling, Trump will not have the time or fight left to work on immigration.
Time will tell what will happen here, but it will be interesting.