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Obama Ban On Deepwater Drilling Overturned


Obama ban on deepwater drilling overturned
By NBC News and news services | MSNBC
Judge sides with industry, which opposed six-month moratorium

A U.S. judge Tuesday ruled against the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill. The White House, which had hoped the ban would provide time to ensure other wells are operating safely, immediately said it planned to appeal.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by drilling companies to reverse the ban imposed by the Department of Interior, which halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling at 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.

District Judge Martin Feldman said the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning and that the moratorium seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs countered that "continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened does not make any sense and ... potentially puts the safety of those on the rigs and the safety of the environment in the Gulf at a danger that the president does not believe we can afford right now."

During a two-hour hearing Monday, plaintiffs' attorney Carl Rosenblum had argued that the suspension could prove more economically devastating than the spill itself. "This is an unprecedented industrywide shutdown. Never before has the government done this," Rosenblum said.

Interior countered that while 33 deepwater drilling sites were affected, there are still 3,600 oil and natural gas production platforms in the Gulf. Read more.

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Or an article posted at the Anchorage paper the moratorium is still on in Alaskan waters, the judges ruling apparently only covers the Gulf and nothing outside of that, at least for now. There's also a few reports out that the judge invests in the oil companies, something tells me that ruling won't hold on appeal!

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