Judge blocks Obama moratorium on offshore drilling projects
A federal judge said the Obama administration failed to justify a six-month moratorium on off-shore drilling projects but the Interior Department said it will issue a new decision with more information. An appeal is also being mounted.

The moratorium was imposed last month in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Judge Martin L. C. Feldman said the order, along with subsequent decisions, did not explain why the ban was necessary and why other companies were being punished for the BP oil spill.

"The [Interior] report patently lacks any analysis of the asserted fear of threat of irreparable injury or safety hazards posed by the thirty-three permitted rigs also reached by the moratorium. It is incident specific and driven: Deepwater Horizon and BP only," Feldman wrote. "None others."

The report at issue discussed off-shore drilling in Alaska, which Alaska Natives oppose. Interior has canceled five deep water drills in the Arctic Ocean, which the court decision did not address.

Get the Story:
Judge blocks deep-water drilling moratorium in Gulf (McClatchy Newspapers 6/23)
Judge blocks Obama moratorium on deep-water drilling (The Washington Post 6/23)
Drilling Ban Blocked; U.S. Will Issue New Order (The New York Times 6/23)
Arctic drilling status unchanged (The Anchorage Daily News 6/23)

Court Decision:
Hornbeck Offshore Services v. Salazar (June 22, 2010)

Relevant Documents:
Secretary Salazar’s Statement Regarding the Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling (June 22, 2010) | Salazar Calls for New Safety Measures for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations; Orders Six Month Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling (May 27, 2010)

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