Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Orleans judge blocks Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling

Bloomberg: Obama temporarily halted all drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet on May 27 to give a presidential commission time to study improvements in the safety of offshore operations. More than a dozen Louisiana offshore service and supply companies sued U.S. regulators to lift the ban. The U.S. said it will appeal the decision.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman yesterday granted a preliminary injunction, halting the moratorium. He also “immediately prohibited” the U.S. from enforcing the ban. Government lawyers told Feldman the ban was based on findings in a U.S. report following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig off the Louisiana coast in April.
“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.”
Ouch! Judge Feldman was none too kind to the administration. I think Feldman’s comments come with a tiny kick of disapproval for how Obama has handled the oil spill.

Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar isn’t giving up, he is seeking to impose an new moratorium. 
Associated Press: WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will issue a new order imposing a moratorium on deepwater drilling after a federal judge struck down the existing one.
Salazar said in a statement Tuesday evening that the new order will contain additional information making clear why the six-month drilling pause was necessary in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. The judge in New Orleans who struck down the moratorium earlier in the day complained there wasn't enough justification for it.
Salazar pointed to indications of inadequate safety precautions by industry on deepwater wells. He said he would issue a new order in the coming days showing that a moratorium is needed.
The White House also is appealing the judge's ruling 

What I never understood about the moratorium is how the administration could so easily dismiss the “systemic risk” the moratorium could create. You will recall at the beginning of this administration, they feared the systemic risk collapsed companies could cause to the economy was of such a concern that they had to take over car companies, insurance companies and banks. Yet systemic risk isn’t even considered for something so vital to an industrialized nation as energy production. Is it that they do not understand the vital role oil plays in our economy or is it that the moratorium serves their needs to bring about Cap and Trade?


Anonymous said...

It's the idea that the whole administration can pass an extremely unconstitutional moratorium whiling feeling righteous, nonchalant about it that's sickening. Sure one company [and gov regulators who failed their job every single time] screwed up, but how does that the crime of the whole industry.

I am glad the court still have some common sense.

Angie Lee said...

Cut the industry off at the knees, and you bring down the entire economy, which depends on oil in one form or another for energy.

The shit's gonna hit the fan, and soon. Hope you've stocked up on canned goods, candles, and a shotgun to protect yourself, Cliff.

kajun said...

He lied?????? Obama lied????? NO WAY!!!!

So Bush was accused of lying to get the Iraq war started and all the left was up in arms... now Obama calls for a moratorium on drilling because of lies and not a peep from those most ethical and honest liberals. We have a congress filled with Lawyers and yet not ONE of them has the ba**s to start up any kind of suit against this man and his administration. Isn't putting thousands of people out of work against their civil rights??? If so, where's the ACLU?? oh yah... they're probably trying to find a way to get this ruling thrown out by Judge Feldman so the moratorium can be put into effect.

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