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Canada to ban licensing of oil and gas drilling in Arctic

A boat crosses in front of the Transocean Polar Pioneer, a semi-submersible drilling unit that Royal Dutch Shell leases from Transocean Ltd., as it arrives in Port Angeles, Wash., aboard a transport ship after traveling across the Pacific before its eventual Arctic destination in an April 17, 2015 file photo. The federal government says it will ban offshore oil and gas licensing in Arctic waters, a measure to be reviewed every five years. 

The Canadian Press: DECEMBER 20, 2016 01:23 PM

CALGARY – The federal government announced Tuesday plans to ban offshore oil and gas licensing in the Arctic, citing the need to protect the environment from future energy development, but the move was largely dismissed by industry observers as a weak gesture that won’t harm their interests.

The measure was part of a joint announcement with the U.S., which designated the bulk of its federally controlled waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean as indefinitely off-limits to future oil and gas leasing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada’s ban is intended to ensure a sustainable Arctic economy, preserve the region’s ecosystem and prevent future risks associated with offshore oil and gas activity — goals that earned applause from environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund.

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