Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Obama job-killing machine get kicked in the ass one more time. They wanted federal judge Martin Feldman to dismiss the drillers’ lawsuit challenging their original moratorium. No dice.
A federal judge in New Orleans rejected on Wednesday the U.S. government’s request to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its original 6-month deepwater drilling moratorium…The drilling halt was subsequently amended, so the government sought to toss out the Hornbeck lawsuit, arguing it was no longer relevant.
But U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who earlier this summer blocked the first drilling halt, said in a 20-page ruling that the government’s amended moratorium offered “no substantial changes” from the first one.
More scathing criticism for Salazar, via the WSJ:
Judge Feldman also noted that in crafting the second moratorium, Mr. Salazar appeared to have relied heavily on documents and data that he had at the time of the first moratorium order. “Nearly every statement in the July 12 decision memorandum is anticipated by documents in the May 28 record, or by documents that were otherwise available to the Secretary before May 28,” the judge said.
Related: A bipartisan call to lift the de facto shallow drilling ban NOW:
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) have again written to Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar regarding the issuance of new permits for shallow water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The letter, co-signed by 37 Democrats and Republicans from across the country, is the second letter that Rep. Green and Rep. Boustany have sent to Secretary Salazar reminding him of the significance of the Gulf Coast economy and urging the immediate issuance of new permits.
“Before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, new shallow water drilling permits were being issued at the rate of 10-15 per week,” Rep. Green stated. “Since the shallow water moratorium was lifted on May 28, a total of 4 new permits have been issued.”
In a letter to Secretary Salazar sent May 20, Reps. Green and Boustany with 54 of their colleagues warned of the potential impact of losing shallow water oil and natural gas production. Since then, 14 rigs have been idled in the Gulf which represents 30% of the shallow water fleet. If the pace of new permits does not accelerate by the end of September, over 70% of the shallow water rigs will be inactive.
“There are thousands of jobs directly connected to shallow water drilling,” Rep. Green continued. “At a time when the economy is still coming back from the worst recession in recent memory, we just can’t afford to lose more jobs. My colleagues and I continue to share concern over this de facto moratorium and the deepwater moratorium as domestic energy production is not only vital to energy independence, but to the Gulf Coast economy.”