Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Judge Blocks Oil Drilling Moratorium

U. S. District Judge Martin Feldman

The Interior Department said it needed time to study the risks of deepwater drilling when it declared a moratorium on May 6.  In response to the massive Gulf oil spill, President Obama extended it for six months.

Several companies asked the court to overturn the moratorium saying it was arbitrarily imposed. The lawsuit filed by Hornbeck Offshore Services of Covington, La. claimed there was no proof the other operations posed any threat.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and corporation leaders claimed the moratorium would force drilling rigs to leave the Gulf of Mexico for foreign waters, resulting in the area losing thousands of lucrative jobs, most paying more than $50,000 a year. 

U. S. District Judge Martin Feldman blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed by the Presideent and the Interior Dept.

On Tuesday, Feldman ruled that the government overreacted, saying one rig's explosion did not mean others would blow up, too.

"If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing,” Feldman wrote.

It should be noted that Judge Feldman owns extensive investments in energy related industries and has stock in at least seventeen different oil companies.

Environmental groups supported the moratorium and believe that the judge's ruling overlooks the ongoing harm to the Gulf and the devastation it has had on the people's lives.

Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar vowed to appeal the decision immediately.

"I will issue a new order in the coming days that eliminates any doubt that a moratorium is needed, appropriate, and within our authorities," Salazar said Tuesday.

Sources: NY Daily News,

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