A federal judge has granted victory to Louisiana drillers and reversed President Obama’s six-month moratorium on issuing new deep-water drilling permits. The judge issued a restraining order to halt the order from taking effect. The White House will appeal.
According to MSNBC,
District Judge Martin Feldman said the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning and that the moratorium seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
There are still several thousand wells (more than 100 times as many operational wells as the number of halted permits) still operating during the new permit moratorium. But the plaintiffs argued, I believe falsely, that the 33 in question were critical economically. It is as if they either think or rationalize that the future destruction of one quarter or more of our nation’s coastal areas is justified. It is also as if this court condones the numerous deceptive filings and cutting corners that imperil deep water rigs. Without reforming the permit and inspection processes, there can be no justification for proceeding as if nothing happened.
Were there any semblance of a fair (as in balanced) lower court system in the US, the result would have likely been far different. The damage done to the Gulf is not only fresh but magnifying each day this catastrophic assault on our country continues. Yet, the lower court sold us out to special interests.