Lawyer: Trump exceeded power by reversing Obama drilling ban

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A lawyer says President Donald Trump exceeded his power when he signed an executive order reversing a ban on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.

Erik Grafe, an attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice, made the argument Friday in federal court in Anchorage.

Environmental groups are challenging Trump’s reversal of President Barack Obama’s ban on offshore petroleum drilling in the region.

Grafe said the law allows presidents to withdraw land from offshore drilling, not add land. He says only Congress has that authority.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Wood countered that the law is meant to be flexible and sensible and is not intended to bind a president when determining offshore stewardship.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason took the case under advisement.

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