"WASHINGTON — The Obama administration moved on several fronts Friday to block new oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean, weeks after Shell said it would be walking away from the area 'for the foreseeable future.'
The Interior Department announced it was canceling government auctions of drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, previously scheduled for 2016 and 2017 respectively. At the same time, it formally rejected bids by Statoil and Shell for more time to search for crude under their existing Arctic leases.
The decisions ensure a long chill on oil development in U.S. Arctic waters and deal another blow to Alaska, which heavily depends on energy revenue and is still reeling from Shell’s pullout. Environmentalists celebrated the move as a victory for Arctic waters and the animals that thrive in them."