22:26 GMT17 January 2021
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    The United States and Canada have banned oil and gas drilling in vast areas of Arctic.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States has banned new oil and gas drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, while Ottawa will not pursue drilling in Arctic Canadian waters, US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

    "The United States is designating the vast majority of US waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing, and Canada will designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing," the statement said.

    In addition, the two countries will identify "sustainable shipping lanes" in Arctic waters and work to address other challenges in the area.

    Obama and Trudeau were "proud to launch actions ensuring a strong, sustainable and viable Arctic economy and ecosystem, with low-impact shipping, science based management of marine resources, and free from the future risks of offshore oil and gas activity," the statement noted.

    Experts have said that the United States has limited means to meet drilling-related challenges in the Arctic, including ocean safety, search-and-rescue capabilities, and the means to handle environmental catastrophes such as oil spills are also limited.

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    Tags:
    oil drilling, Beaufort Sea, Canada, US, Chukchi Sea
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