BEFORE PRESIDENT OBAMA LEAVES OFFICE, WILL HE PERMANENTLY BAN OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING IN FEDERAL WATERS?

Offshore Drilling Pacific

Can a president withdraw federal offshore areas from oil and gas leasing permanently?

Several Senate Democrats and some environmental advocacy groups want President Barack Obama to give it a try before he leaves office.

A permanent ban on oil and gas leasing has never been attempted before.

The language in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act is open to various interpretations. Attorneys tell Bloomberg BNA there could be court challenges to both a presidential ban and to an attempt by a succeeding president to modify or lift such a ban.

“There is not a specific case in hand that would definitively state the president can or cannot do this,” said David Bernhardt, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP.

I talked to Bernhardt and others in my story for subscribers, Calls Grow for Permanent Offshore Leasing Ban.