A New Orleans federal judge lifted the six-month moratorium imposed on deepwater drilling by President Barack Obama after the BP spill. In New Orleans, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman found that the administration had failed to satisfy requirements for notice and comment from industry. The case is Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC v. Salazar, 2:10-cv-01663(E.D. La.).
The ban stopped all drilling deeper than 500 feet on May 27 until the completion of a commission report.
The Louisiana governor is pushing for more drilling as the spill worsens off his coast. However, Feldman was faced with a clear procedural violation and ordered the moratorium lifted. Louisiana officials also argued that the federal government failed to consult with state officials as well as industry.
In granting the injunction, Feldman stated:
“Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the summary also states that ‘the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.’ As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading,”
Feldman has been criticized for ruling on the matter despite his own personal investments in the oil industry.
Obama has only agreed to suspend his lifting of drilling on the Eastern Shore — a move that was denounced by environmentalists before the BP spill.