Ryan vows to undo Obama drilling plan

Ryan vows to undo Obama drilling plan
© Getty Images

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden's relationship with top House Republican is frosty The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Budowsky: Liz Cheney vs. conservatives in name only MORE (R-Wis.) on Friday said Republicans will look to undo an offshore drilling plan released by President Obama that blocks oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean.

“In its final days, the Obama administration is throwing up more barriers to American energy development. This plan to exclude the resource-rich Arctic from exploration possibilities squanders our ability to harness the abundant, affordable energy sources that power our economy,” Ryan said in a statement. 


“Our Better Way agenda outlines a plan to unleash our energy potential and create American jobs. That’s why we will work to overturn this plan, and to open up the Arctic and other offshore areas for development.”

Ryan joined much of the oil industry in slamming the drilling plan, a five-year policy that will allow for oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico but not the Atlantic or Arctic Oceans. The industry had hoped Obama would allow drilling in the Arctic as part of the plan.

“Our national energy security depends on our ability to produce oil and natural gas here in the U.S., and this decision could very well increase the cost of energy for American consumers and close the door on creating new jobs and new investments for years,” American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said in a  statement. 

“We are hopeful the incoming administration will reverse this decision.”

Undoing the drilling plan will take time. Because the plan is not a regulation, it is not subject to the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo executive branch rules.

President-elect Donald Trump has spoken about allowing more offshore drilling, and he could rewrite the drilling plan to expand exploration in the Arctic and beyond. But that’s a lengthy process — the current plan was years in the making. 

Even so, some environmental groups are so concerned about the prospect of Trump expanding drilling that they’re asking Obama to issue an emergency order to withdraw some of the Arctic Ocean from the drilling program altogether, something they say he can do under existing law. 

“Unfortunately, Donald Trump has made it clear that he wants to return to the days of ‘drill baby drill,’ ” Friends of the Earth’s Marissa Knodel said in a statement.

“That’s why President Obama must use his remaining days in office to permanently keep as much of our lands and waters from Trump and his oil cronies as possible.”    

Arctic drilling foe Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) agreed, saying: “If the new Congress and President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE want to reward the oil and gas industry with a new drilling spree, let’s make them work for it.”