How dare those ignorant judges, who do not know as much as the Law professor who did not teach law, tell Obama that his moratorium is unlawful. But in fact, Obama is allowing relief wells to be dug. Environmentalists are fighting this because of the damage to the environment, of which there is considerable damage taking place. But stop and think of the ramifications of this country not drilling for oil. We would become even more dependent on Arab countries (which Obama likes), we would have higher costs of living due to much higher prices on everything because the Arabs could increase the price of their oil exponentially (Obama likes this too), and large chunks of industry would have to close up or move to another country (Obama likes this as well). In other words, doing away with drilling in the US or its waters would lead to an economic crises thousands of times worse than what we went through under Carter, forcing even more layoffs, and more companies going under, then causing all those people to have to turn to the government so as to survive, making them all slaves of the government just as the German people became under Hitler. Scott
NEW ORLEANS – A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed after 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 assumed that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
“The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is an unprecedented, sad, ugly and inhuman disaster,” he wrote. “What seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened on the Deepwater Horizon into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all Gulf deepwater drilling activities put us all in a universal threat of irreparable harm.”
The moratorium was imposed after the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers and blew out the well 5,000 feet underwater that has spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
The Interior Department said it needed time to study the risks of deepwater drilling. But the lawsuit filed by Hornbeck Offshore Services of Covington, La., claimed there was no proof the other operations posed a threat.
Company CEO Todd Hornbeck said after the ruling that he is looking forward to getting back to work.
“It’s the right thing for not only the industry but the country,” he said.
The moratorium was declared May 6 and originally was to last only through the month. Obama announced May 27 that he was extending it for six months.
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal and corporate leaders said the moratorium would force drilling rigs to leave the Gulf of Mexico for lucrative business in foreign waters.
They said the loss of business would cost the area thousands of lucrative jobs, most paying more than $50,000 a year. The state’s other major economic sector, tourism, is a largely low-wage industry.
Tim Kerner, the mayor of Lafitte, La., cheered Feldman’s ruling.
“I love it. I think it’s great for the jobs here and the people who depend on them,” said Kerner, whose constituents make their living, primarily, from commercial fishing or oil.
But in its response to the lawsuit, the Interior Department said the moratorium is necessary as attempts to stop the leak and clean the Gulf continue and new safety standards are developed.
“A second deepwater blowout could overwhelm the efforts to respond to the current disaster,” the Interior Department said.
The government also challenged contentions the moratorium would lead to long-term economic harm. Although 33 deepwater drilling sites were affected, there are still 3,600 oil and natural gas production platforms in the Gulf.
Catherine Wannamaker, a lawyer for environmental groups that intervened in the case and supported the moratorium, called the ruling “a step in the wrong direction.”
“We think it overlooks the ongoing harm in the Gulf, the devastation it has had on people’s lives,” she said. “The harm at issue with the Deepwater Horizon spill is bigger than just the Louisiana economy. It affects all of the Gulf.”
Associated Press Writer Pauline Arrillaga in Lafitte, La., contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON – The White House said Tuesday it will immediately appeal a federal judge’s ruling against the Obama administration’s moratorium on new deepwater drilling.
A New Orleans judge on Tuesday blocked the six-month ban imposed in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, saying the Interior Department had failed to provide adequate reasons for it.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, defended the moratorium and promised an immediate appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Gibbs said President Barack Obama believes strongly that drilling at such depths — without knowing what happened to cause the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to explode — does not make any sense and puts the safety of workers “at a danger that the president does not believe we can afford.”
Obama wanted the moratorium to be in place until a commission he appointed could complete a six-month investigation.