Judge blocks offshore drilling moratorium

A U.S. District Judge in New Orleans overturned the Obama Administration’s declaration of a six month moratorium on off-shore drilling earlier today, June 22.

The moratorium, which was initially only to last one month, was put in place on May 6 as a response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama extended the hold to six months on May 27.

Several companies that ferry people and supplies to the offshore drilling platforms asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the declaration saying the government had arbitrarily concluded that because one rig had failed, others were in imminent danger of failing also.

Feldman sided with the companies writing in his decision that, "The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is an unprecedented, sad, ugly and inhuman disaster," he wrote. "What seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened on the Deepwater Horizon into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all Gulf deepwater drilling activities put us all in a universal threat of irreparable harm."

His ruling prohibits federal officials from enforcing the moratorium until a trial is held, although he did not set a date for the trial.

· Judge blocks Gulf offshore drilling moratorium

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