Judge rules against oil drill block
A federal judge in New Orleans yesterday blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill, writes Michael Kunzelman.
The White House promised an immediate appeal. President Barack Obama's administration had halted approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling of 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf region.
Several companies asked US District Judge Martin Feldman to overturn the moratorium, arguing it was arbitrarily imposed.
Feldman agreed, saying in his ruling the Interior Department seemed to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling posed an imminent danger.