A New Orleans federal judge lifted the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling imposed by President Barack Obama following the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Drilling services shares jumped on the news. Obama temporarily halted all drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet on May 27 to give a presidential commission time to study improvements in the safety of offshore operations. More than a dozen Louisiana offshore service and supply companies sued U.S. regulators to lift the ban. The U.S. said it will appeal the decision.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman today granted a preliminary injunction, halting the moratorium. He also “immediately prohibited” the U.S. from enforcing the ban. Government lawyers told Feldman that ban was based on findings in a U.S. report following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig off the Louisiana coast in April.
“The court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium,” Feldman said in his 22-page decision. “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.”
Considering the country is seeing one of its largest unemployment rates and the Gulf is still in recovery mode after Katrina etc, this is a sensible idea.
We should focus on stopping the leak and then worry about what caused it, but the fact of the matter is, we may never know what caused it. No one would dare mention that perhaps it was human error and now that Human is no longer with us to tell us the story and there is no black box to find that will give us the answers.