Also - Judge Who Struck Down Moratorium Has Owned Transocean Stock
From the New York Times:
A federal judge in New Orleans on Tuesday blocked a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling projects that the Obama administration imposed after the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The White House swiftly vowed to appeal the ruling.
In a 22-page opinion, the judge, Martin L. C. Feldman of United States District Court, issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a late May order halting all offshore exploratory drilling in more than 500 feet of water.
Citing potential economic harm to businesses and workers, Judge Feldman wrote that the Obama administration had failed to justify the need for such “a blanket, generic, indeed punitive, moratorium” on deep-water oil and gas drilling.
“The blanket moratorium, with no parameters, seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger,” wrote Judge Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan. The administration’s order halted 33 exploratory drilling projects and suspended new permits, but did not affect platforms that were already in production.
In a statement on Tuesday evening, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that within days he would issue a new order imposing a moratorium on deep-water drilling that would contain additional information showing why it was necessary.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said the administration “will immediately appeal” the judge’s ruling to a federal appeals court in New Orleans. He said it made sense to suspend exploratory deep-water drilling until the completion of the investigation into the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP and the still-flowing leak from the underwater well.
President Obama “strongly believes,” Mr. Gibbs said, “that continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened does not make any sense” and would jeopardize “the safety of those on the rigs and safety of the environment in the gulf.” ....