Obama is making another move to block offshore drilling.
The administration on Friday rejected oil companies’ requests for permits to use seismic cannons to search for oil and gas under the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Marine biologists say this kind of seismic testing is dangerous to sea life.
The move dovetails with the administration’s decision last year not to allow new exploration for oil and gas in parts of the Atlantic through 2022. And it comes less than a month after President Obama used an obscure 1953 law to permanently ban drilling in some offshore areas in the Atlantic and Arctic.
These recent moves mark a change of course for Obama. Earlier in his presidency, he was much more pro-drilling, moving toward allowing new offshore oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic and Arctic. In fact, in 2014, the administration decided to allow seismic testing off the southern Atlantic coast.
But now Obama is looking to shore up his legacy — and looking ahead to a Trump administration that has pledged to boost oil and gas drilling — so he’s doing what he can to limit offshore development before he leaves office.
In the case of the seismic permits, though, companies can submit new requests after Donald Trump becomes president.