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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Federal Judge Lifts Obama's Deepwater Drilling Ban

The judgment can be found here (PDF file)

Not only did the New Orleans federal judge, Martin Feldman, lift the moratorium the Obama administration placed, banning drilling for 6 months, he also pointed out misrepresentations by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.” It was factually incorrect. Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they “do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium” on floating drilling. They envisioned a more limited kind of moratorium, but a blanket moratorium was added after their final review, they complain, and was never agreed to by them. A factor that might cause some apprehension about the probity of the process that led to the Report.

Read the whole 22 page PDF.

According to Bloomberg, the Obama administration will appeal the decision.

Via The Hill, the judge made this point:

The administration's decision to ban drilling was likely "arbitrary and capricious" and would do "irreparable harm" to companies and individuals' livelihoods, federal Judge Martin Feldman wrote in his decision. Feldman granted a preliminary injunction against the moratorium's effects.