A federal judge in New Orleans (who, by the way, owns stock in several offshore oil drilling companies) has blocked the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico…
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A federal judge in New Orleans on Tuesday blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
The White House promised an immediate appeal. President Barack Obama’s administration had halted approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling of 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama believes strongly that drilling at such depths does not make any sense and puts the safety of workers “at a danger that the president does not believe we can afford.”
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium, arguing it was arbitrarily imposed.
Feldman agreed, saying in his ruling the Interior Department seemed to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
Until the exact cause of the “accident” on April 20 that resulted in the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico is determined and steps are taken to ensure that such an accident does not occur again (or, if it does, the industry is prepared to deal with it), all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling do pose an imminent danger.
It is interesting that the very Republicans who are now demanding that the Obama administration “fix” the catastrophe now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico are the very people cheering this decision by this activist judge. Heavens forbid we have another blowout, but, if we do, the spin that will be put on it by these politicians will be nothing short of amazing.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said this afternoon that the Obama administration will “immediately” appeal a judge’s decision to block the administration’s six-month moratorium on offshore drilling put into place following the Gulf oil spill.
“We will immediately appeal to the 5th circuit,” Gibbs said. “The president continues to believe that … continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened does not make any sense.”
Gibbs said Mr. Obama believes that drilling without more knowledge of what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon rig puts the safety of workers at risk and that’s a “danger the president doesn’t believe we can afford right now.”