Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Judge rules against deep water drilling moratorium

Why does this not surprise me?

Today a federal judge in New Orleans blocked a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling that the Obama administration had ordered after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In a 22-page ruling, Judge Martin L. C. Feldman of Federal District Court issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a May 28 order halting all floating offshore drilling projects in more than 500 feet of water and preventing the government from issuing new permits for such projects.

Citing the economic harm to businesses and workers in the gulf caused by the moratorium, Judge Feldman — a 1983 appointee of 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.”

The White House immediately responded by saying that it would appeal the decision.

Good. But what hope is there with the current and seemingly currupt Supreme Court?

The Obama administration had argued that a six-month suspension of deepwater drilling was necessary so that the government could complete its investigation of the Deepwater Horizon accident, and make sure that other drilling operations on the outer continental shelf were safe.

But the order was challenged by a coalition of businesses that provide services and equipment to offshore drilling platforms. The companies sued, asking the judge to declare the moratorium to be invalid and arguing that there was no evidence that existing operations were unsafe.

If I remember correctly, there was no evidence the Deepwater Horizon drill was unsafe either - until it exploded killing 11 workers and  spewing anywhere from 67 million to 127 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.

I'm sure businesses that rely on oil companies to stay afloat are deeply concerned about the welfare of the residents, wildlife and environment in the area. Do I hear the echo of BP in the background?

The State of Louisiana filed a brief supporting the lawsuit, arguing that the moratorium would damage its economy.

I can appreciate the concern of Gulf Coast residents for their livelihood and I wouldn't want to be in their shoes - not for a day, not for a minute. But sometimes short-term sacrifices have to be made to ensure that the future will provide a safer and more secure life style.
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 FROM MOTHER JONES: According to the most recently available financial disclosure form for US District Court Judge Martin Feldman, he had holdings of up to $15,000 in Transocean in 2008. He has also recently owned stock in offshore drilling or oilfield service providers Halliburton, Prospect Energy, Hercules Offshore, Parker Drilling Co., and ATP Oil & Gas


  1. The judge probably ruled as he did because he was told to do so.

    "But what hope is there with the current and seemingly corrupt Supreme Court?"

    There is not much hope and that's not being pessimistic it's just the reality. We will get nothing from the gang in the robes.

    The pile of shit we are all standing in is as deep as the gusher in the gulf.

  2. I can appreciate the concern of Gulf Coast residents for their livelihood and I wouldn't want to be in their shoes...

    I had concerns about the moratorium and what it would do to an already troubled regional economy until I heard this morning on NPR that production wells are not included. Wells that are producing right now continue to operate and while that is small comfort to the people who work on exploration platforms but like you wrote some sacrifices have to be made.


  4. RZ posted the link and I think this judge should have recused himself. He has a clear conflict of interest holding stock in TransOcean and 5 different oil companies.

  5. It stinks don't it?

    There is an update.

    He probably got the call at 2 am. from the oil Corps.

    ---We have something coming your way.---See what you can do about this.----

  7. Reagan appointed judge, a judge with a conflict of interest. Doesn't this just smell as bad as the Gulf waters smell right now??!! I don't know how President Obama gets out of bed in the morning! This is another plus for democrats even tho it can spell disaster for America. The people in the Gulf are on Obamas side, that spells disaster for rethugs come November. Joe Scarborough said this morning the relatives and friends he has spoken to down there are as conservative as they come and they support the presidents decisions he has made in this Gulf disaster!

  8. Hello Ms. Leslie!

    Actually I didnt hear any of this yet .... nor should I be suprised. The President isnt anti business at all is what most folk's dont see and is actually for a tad of drilling .... he is alot like me on this issue and all energy for that matter. What most folk's are not seeing though .... is these move's to insure the flow of business may be in the longrun really economically devasting, in the possible damage's that may occur. One other thing that concerned me that I discussed in the beginning of my journal .... was how global warming (or what the politically correct now term as "climate change" to sugar coat it for the masses) is/ or will be changing ocean current's and we will see according to scientist's possible more severe storm's .... and this particular area of the ocean will be hit with more frequent and severe hurricane's possibly .... if this is so .... it's even more of a danger .... and of course what effect's will crack's in the ocean floor have in the longterm? ... again .... human reaction looking only to the short term.

    Thank You Ms.Leslie for the informative piece ....

  9. RZ: That's exactly what I was thinking when I wrote this - probably doing a jig and clicking his heels.

    Sue: Well - not all of the residents support Obama on this. I've seen videos where they have expressed concerns. How many there actually are is another matter. I think their worries are legitimate but I think BP needs to help them. These folks have been through hell over the past five or six years.

  10. BTW .... I lovew the Pat Robertson quote above ... it had me busting a gut in laughter, but again I reckon I would expect something like that out of the ole boy! :)

  11. Mostly what Joe was talking about was the 20 billion dollar decision. Yes the people are concerned about the moratorium and the speed of getting their claims paid. Linda has an amazing post up about the 20 billion from BP, conservative thinking is purely insane!!

  12. RC: Isn't he a riot? I used to have one up by Falwell. It was a real doozy but Pat's is the killer. Will try to find it again.

    Sue: I bet oil money is behind the citizens who protested. I don't know why you even go to Linda's site.

  13. Poor Pat, he has mother issues you know.

    As far as that Judge goes, what an asshole. Like no one will find out he's a mouth piece for Big oil.

  14. A Reagan appointee. Nuff sed.

    Claim processing will not happen overnight. Where there's $20 billion, there are crooks and thieves. You can hand out the money instantly until it's gone, or you can take the trouble to separate the wheat from the chaff in order that as much as possible goes to the people who merit it.

  15. If Feldman is invested in oil-industry or related businesses now, he should have recused himself.

    His (ahem) honor wrote:

    “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.”

    Wrong. The blanket moratorium is based on what we know all too well about how reckless some Big Oil and drilling outfits can be, along with how completely unreliable blowout preventers are.

    DOJ should fight this immediately. If an unbiased judge can be found, it shouldn't be hard to get the injunction thrown out.

  16. Huffington Post has also highlighted that fact that the judge owns, or owned, oil-company stock. That's an aspect of the story that needs to be widely known. Surely an obvious basis for an appeal on the grounds of conflict of interest.

  17. Ms.Leslie: .... Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh :)

    Indeed Mr.Falwell is another work of entertainment .... all of these character's are intoxicated with the "Holy Spirit", to the point that they couldnt drive straight when in a moment of thought. Let me tell ya a hilarious short story here, you may recall.....

    Back right before the turn of the last century 1998/ 1999 .... there was a minister by the name of Van Impe (him and his other half had a tele ministry) .... he was selling a VHS box set of how the apocalypse was going to come down (old school revelation's style), when 2000 ring's in ... and all the computer's will shut down and the world will basically go into chaos etc, etc ... and of course spicing it up with piece's out of the classic "Book of Revelation", which made it more spicy for those "inquiry mind's" .... you know ... the doom/ gloom scenario's that are so loved and cherished! :) But the hilarious part was .... he was selling these box set's right up till the last day of 1999, and offering a payment plan of 4 easy payment's taken out on your credit card, the price I believe was a tad over $150 for the set ... and a bonus book of horror's came with it. How would you collect the payment's if the world was going to end 01/ 01/ 2000? Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh .....

    Later Grrrrllll ... alway's a treat! :)

  18. Dang. I responded to these last comments - must have hit the X instead of the Post Comment. I can't go through all that again but please know that your comments were appreciated and I'm so sorry. Sometimes my fingers walk too fast.

  19. Business as usual in the neofascist Uhmuhricuh of the right wing.

  20. JR; I'm afraid you're right. It is really beginning to look a bit scarey.