The Latest: Alaskans react to the executive order to expand ocean oil drilling

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WASHINGTON (AP / KTUU) - Update - 5:00 p.m.:

A group of environmental and conservation organizations, including The Alaska Wilderness League, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity, issued a joint statement Friday criticizing President Trump's executive order.

The statement read in part "The majority of Americans want to preserve our unspoiled Arctic and Atlantic oceans, not turn them over to private oil companies. They support permanent protection, which keeps these areas forever safe from the harms of offshore oil drilling. President Trump may want to unravel this progress, but presidents do not have the executive authority to subject publicly-held waters to offshore leasing that previous presidents have withdrawn."

Update - 12:25 p.m.:
On Friday, joining President Donald Trump for the signing ceremony of an oil drilling executive order were Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young.

All three Alaskan officials praised the president for the roll back of oil drilling restrictions, in the Arctic.

"Alaskans broadly support offshore development in the Arctic," said Murkowski. "And I strongly believe that over time, today’s order will provide substantial benefits by putting our state on a better path to create jobs, generate new revenues, refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and strengthen our leadership in the Arctic."

Sullivan expressed his desire for the White House and Congress to continue their partnerships with Alaska in "leading our country into a new energy renaissance."

"Production is increasing in Alaska, and there are new oil finds throughout the state," said Sullivan. "Alaska is on the brink of leading our country into a new energy renaissance."

And Young commends Trump for "recognizing the importance of development in the Arctic OCS."

"Today is an important moment for Alaska’s future,” said Young. "As a resources oriented state, this is critical."

According to an Alaska Congressional Delegation press release, highlights of the executive order includes:
- Erasing Article 12(a) withdraws, which would nullify the Obama administration's indefinite ban on Arctic offshore oil and gas development.
- Potentially adding more offshore leasing areas and sales in Beaufort, Chukchi and Cook Inlet.
- And revising - potential revising - the Obama administration's regulations on the Arctic rule, the Well Control Rule and more.

Update - 9:25 a.m.:
Alaska governor Bill Walker has issued a statement on the reversal of policy issued Friday morning in the form of an executive order from President Donald Trump.

Walker mad the statement in response to the change, which would open the areas of the outer-continental shelf in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas which were previously closed by President Obama.

Walker said he was pleased with the announcement. "Today’s executive order is an important step towards spurring additional oil production through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline,” Walker's statement said.

A spokesperson with Alaska Oil and Gas Association similarly endorsed the decision, calling it "an encouraging development."

In a statement released Friday morning, AOGA states that while today's executive order keeps America's energy options open when it comes to offshore fossil fuel development, people today should hold off on making snap judgments.

"Before citizens rush to praise or condemn today’s announcement, it is important to appreciate that much work remains to be done. It will be years before any lease sales are held in the Arctic [Outer Continental Shelf] arena," AOGA said in a statement.

ORIGINAL STORY:
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will roll back restrictions on oil drilling in the Arctic, potentially leading to an expansion of ocean drilling.

Trump says at a White House signing ceremony, "Today, we're unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying energy jobs."

The order also directs his energy secretary to review regulations overseeing drilling and former President Barack Obama's five-year drilling plan.

It's Trump's latest move to undo his predecessor's environmental protection efforts in his first 100 days in office.