The U.S. Chamber of Commerce could challenge President Barack Obama's move to put vast waters in the Arctic and elsewhere off-limits to oil and gas drilling, Christopher Guith, senior vice president of policy for the powerful pro-business group's Energy Institute, told CNBC.
"It is absolutely accurate to say we're considering it," he said Thursday.
However, legal action may not be necessary if congressional Republicans take up legislation to overturn Obama's action, Guith said. Spokesmen for Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young, both Alaska Republicans, said they are mulling such legislation, the Hill reported Thursday.
On Tuesday, President Obama withdrew the bulk of the U.S.-controlled Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic from future lease sales to energy companies, citing his authority under the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
U.S. Outer Continental Shelf
While momentum had been building for Obama to block drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic throughout the year, the timing and details of the action were not known until this week. Guith said he expects a more serious discussion about a response to begin once people return from the Christmas holiday.
"There's no rush right now. It's just trying to figure out sequentially what works best and what the bandwidth is," he said. "These sorts of decisions happen over long periods of time. It's more about getting the policy right than trying to rush to the courthouse."
This would not be new ground for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In September, the chamber, along with other business groups, filed a lawsuit challenging an Obama administration rule that granted overtime pay to more workers.