Several dozen plaintiffs had sued President Barack Obama’s administration, arguing the ban would create long-term economic harm to their businesses. Obama ordered the moratorium after the April 20 explosion of an oil rig off Louisiana that killed 11 people and triggered an underwater oil gusher.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the government will immediately appeal the ruling to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Federal Judge Blocks Obama’s Offshore Drilling Moratorium in Gulf of Mexico
A federal judge in New Orleans on Tuesday blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
The White House promised an immediate appeal. President 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 seemed to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
“An invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in depths of over 500 feet simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country,” Feldman wrote.
The moratorium was imposed after the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers and blew out the well 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.
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 have said the moratorium will force drilling rigs leaving the Gulf of Mexico for lucrative business in foreign waters.
They say the loss of business will 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.
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 will 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.”
Update: Salazar seeks to reimpose drilling moratorium
By ERICA WERNER Associated Press Writer © 2010 The Associated Press
June 22, 2010, 7:24PM
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.
McAuleysworld Comments: Just another example of how the Obama Administration is trying to create an Imperial Presidency. An Imperial Presidency is one where the President assumes the power of an Emperor – A single ruler with unlimited power and unlimited authority. Power and authority taken from the people not granted by the people.The Obama Administration views itself as an Imperial Presidency – with President Obama as the omnipotent autocrat – possessing unlimited power, unlimited authority and unrestrained by Constitutional limitations. An autocrat free to ignore his oath to “protect and defend the constitution”, free to selectively enforce or ignore the laws of the land as he chooses, free to implement his policies without the advise or consent of the Congress or the American people.
Ancient Rome started as a Republic. Like the United States, the Roman Republic was founded after the overthrow of a monarchy. The Roman Republic was based on a Constitution which honored the principles of separation of powers, of a need for a system of checks and balances within the Government.
The end of the Roman Republic was brought about by the Roman leaders who “transitioned” Rome, leaders who “fundamentally transformed” Rome from a Republic to an Imperial State. A state ruled by autocratic Emperors. The Emperors were men who subverted the Roman Constitution for their own power, for their own political gain. The Emperor’s usurped the powers granted to the Roman Senate and Legislative Assembly and after consolidating their power proclaimed themselves perpetual dictators.
Obama acted unilaterally in imposing his “drilling moratorium”. The people of the Gulf States successfully challenged Obama’s actions in the Federal Court, remember the Court or Judiciary is a Branch of Government with power equal to the President and his Executive Branch. In our system of checks and balances the Executive Branch is free to “Appeal” the Federal Court’s decision to a higher Court or to ask Congress to enact a law implementing a moratorium, however, our Constitution not empower the Executive Branch to ignore the Federal Court decision as the Obama Administration is intent on doing.
In stating that the Administration simply intends to issue “A new regulation to replace the old one” the Obama Administration is saying, we don’t like the Court’s decision, so we won’t obey it. We don’t acknowledge that we are governed by the separation of powers enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, that this Administration’s powers supersede those of the Congress and the Judiciary and we will not be bound by the Constitutional limitation of powers imposed on our Administration by the Constitution.
Obama’s Imperial Presidency. America’s 1st Reich or America’s 3rd Reich?
Reich –noun – 1. (with reference to Germany) empire; realm; nation. First Reich – The Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806. Second Reich: the German Empire 1871–1919. Third Reich Germany during the Nazi regime 1933–45. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reich
To Read My Post Discussing Obama’s Imperial Presidency and Border Security/ Open Borders / Amnesty See: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/fathers-day-reflections-our-childrens-future-in-america-republic-or-imperial-presidency/
Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill, Obama Moratorium On Oil Drilling Tagged: | Federal Judge Blocks Obama Drilling Moratorium, Gulf Dirlling Moratorium Blocked By Federal Judge, Gulf Oil Crisis, Interior Secretary Threatens New Drilling Ban, Obama's Imperial Presidency, Oil Drilling Moratorium