Disasters / Emergencies, Environment / Environmental Law, Federal Judges

Deep-Water Drilling Is Back on the Table

Article II, meet Article III. Hope you enjoy the pwnage. CNN reports:

A federal judge has blocked a six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Several dozen plaintiffs had sued the Obama administration, arguing the ban would create long-term economic harm to their businesses.

Well, think of it this way: the chances of another one of these rigs exploding and creating an environmental catastrophe that is beyond our ability to fix is like really, really small…

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says that the White House will immediately appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit.

But why make all this fuss? The oil industry and people who rely on the oil industry don’t seem to have a problem with resuming deep-water drilling activities:

[A] group of companies that provide boats and equipment to the offshore drilling industry sued, claiming the government has no evidence that existing operations pose a threat to the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean President Steve Newman, whose company owned the Deepwater Horizon, said Tuesday that he supported ending the moratorium.

“I think there are actions the administration could take today that will allow for the safe and prudent resumption of activity on the outer continental shelf,” he said.

No evidence that deep-water drilling threatens the Gulf? None? So, did NASA get this picture from space aliens using photoshop?

Yeah, we should definitely take Transocean’s word on this.

The AP has U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman’s rationale for blocking Obama’s moratorium:

Feldman sided with the companies, saying in his ruling the Interior Department assumed that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.

”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. He did not set a trial date.

He’s kind of right. Deepwater drilling doesn’t inherently threaten the environment. People like Judge Feldman inherently threaten the environment, politicians threaten the environment, oil companies threaten the environment, and consumers like us inherently threaten the environment. Why stop now?

Judge blocks deepwater drilling moratorium [CNN]
Judge Blocks Deep-Water Drilling Moratorium [Associated Press]
Judge Blocks Deep-Water Drilling Moratorium [New York Times]

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