Court Decision Stops Trump’s Attempt to Allow Arctic Drilling

Shell’s platform Polar Pioneer in Dutch Harbod, Alaska. Shell is the only company that has done exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea in the US Arctic. (Photo: Judy Patrick/Creative commons)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ended the dispute over former President Trump’s attempt to open up for oil and gas drilling in 128 million acres of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

A coalition of conservation groups sued the Trump Administration over using an Executive Order to open up for oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. 

Moot case

Federal Courts only have the constitutional authority to resolve actual disputes. Legal actions cannot be brought or continued after the matter at issue has been resolved, leaving no live dispute for a court to resolve. In such a case, the matter is said to be "moot". Source:

In 2019 the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska ruled in their favor saying the order was unlawful. The Trump administration soon appealed the ruling. 

On President Biden's first day in office, the Executive Order was revoked, leaving the case "moot". 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday agreed to dismiss the Trump administration's appeal.

"We lack jurisdiction to consider ‘moot questions...or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect the matter in issue in the case before [us],'" the court said Tuesday.

“Because the terms of the challenged Executive Order are no longer in effect, the relevant areas of the [Outer Continental Shelf] in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean will be withdrawn from exploration and development activities,” the court said. 



Also read