Judge Feldman Rejects Appeal of His Ruling on Gulf Drilling Ban

offshore oil rigTwo days after rescinding an Obama administration moratorium on new deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman again rejected the government. This time he denied the Justice Department's appeal of the ruling.

"The defendants' motion to stay pending appeal is hereby denied for the same reasons given in this court's June 22, 2010, order granting the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction," Feldman wrote in his ruling. On June 22, Feldman called the administration's ban arbitrary and said it would cause "irreparable harm" to offshore oil-service companies.

As a result, the Interior Department's decision to halt approval of new permits for deepwater projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells cannot be enforced. It is now expected that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will follow up on his plans to issue a new order that makes a better case for imposing a moratorium. He announced his plans to do so Tuesday night after Feldman rejected the first order.
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