US Federal Judge Places a Temporary Restraining Order on President Obama’s Moratorium on Deepwater Oil Drilling

A Federal Court Judge struck down a six month ban on drilling  Deepwater water oil wells that President Obama  attempted to enforce after the largest oil spill in the US history.

President Obama imposed the drilling ban on May 27th on all drilling over 500 feet. This would allow the presidential commission to study the cause of the explosion and oil spill. A dozen or so oil drilling firms and supply companies filed suit against the White House. The plaintiffs say the ban has  caused the lost of  jobs in energy industry.

US Federal District Court Judge Martin Feldman of  Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans place  a preliminary injunction on the ban. Feldman also stopped the Obama administration from enforcing the ban.

From the Judge Feldman Ruling:

“The court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium,” Feldman said in his 22-page decision. “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.”

Separate Order

“The court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the agency, but the agency must ‘cogently explain why it has exercised its discretion in a given manner,’” Feldman said, citing a previous ruling. “It has not done so.”

Feldman in a separate order yesterday “immediately prohibited” the U.S. from enforcing the drilling moratorium, finding the offshore companies would otherwise incur “irreparable harm.

Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar said that he will released a new ban on deepwater  oil drilling soon:

“We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP’s well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling,” Salazar said. “Based on this ever-growing evidence, I will issue a new order in the coming days that eliminates any doubt that a moratorium is needed, appropriate, and within our authorities.”

Bloomberg News has more.

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