Fed Judge Blocks Obama’s Offshore Drilling Moratorium as ‘Punitive’

June 22, 2010

(ChattahBox)—United States District Judge Martin Feldman sided with the plaintiff oil companies in issuing a preliminary injunction enjoining the Obama administration’s moratorium on deepwater oil drilling. Judge Feldman was not convinced by the federal government’s argument that the drilling operations were unsafe, finding the moratorium too sweeping in scope, calling it “punitive.” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, “We will immediately appeal to the Fifth Circuit” appeals court.

According to the report in The New York Times, Judge Feldman issued his findings in a 22-page ruling:

“Citing the economic harm to businesses and workers in the Gulf that the moratorium would cause, Judge Feldman — a 1983 appointee of former President Ronald Reagan — wrote that the Obama administration had failed to justify the need for the sweeping suspension, which he characterized as “generic, indeed punitive.”’

“He wrote that “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.”’

It didn’t escape notice by progressives today that Judge Feldman owns stock in oil companies, specifically Transocean, the owner of the sunken Deepwater Horizon oil rig:

“The federal judge who overturned Barack Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium appears to own stock in numerous companies involved in the offshore oil industry — including Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to BP prior to its April 20 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico — according to 2008 financial disclosure reports.” [...]

“According to Feldman’s 2008 financial disclosure form, posted online by Judicial Watch, the judge owned stock in Transocean, as well as five other companies that are either directly or indirectly involved in the offshore drilling business.”

Federal conservative judges in the Gulf states are notoriously tied to the oil industry, ensuring a welcoming forum for oil interests.


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