Deepwater drilling moratorium
  • EvestayEvestay June 2010
    NEW ORLEANS – Companies that ferry people and supplies to offshore oil rigs asked a federal judge Monday to lift a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed in the aftermath of the massive Gulf spill.

    U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman heard two hours of arguments Monday and said he will decide by Wednesday whether to overturn the ban imposed by President Barack Obama's administration after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.

    Obama's administration has also been struggling to show it is responding forcefully to the spill. As part of that effort, the Interior Department halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling at 33 existing exploratory wells in the Gulf.

    But a lawsuit filed by the Covington-based Hornbeck Offshore Services of Covington, La., claims the government arbitrarily imposed the moratorium without any proof that the operations posed a threat. Hornbeck says the moratorium could cost Louisiana thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost wages.

    First, I doubt the lawsuit will work, but what is your opinion of the moratorium?

    I think it's a terrible idea to force people to lose their stable jobs at a time when all the jobs possible are needed. And I will literally freak the hell out if BP's $20 billion fund is used to pay the workers who are not working because of this ban.
  • EvestayEvestay June 2010
    Um, the lawsuit did kind of work:
    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.

    More than a dozen Louisiana offshore service and supply companies sued U.S. regulators to lift the ban. State officials claim 20,000 Louisiana jobs are in jeopardy if the deepwater drilling suspension lasts 18 months.

    Lawyers for the drilling companies told Feldman the moratorium illegally sidesteps a required industry comment period. They also said regulators failed to tell Obama that all active deepwater rigs passed an immediate re-inspection after the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, with only two rigs reporting minor violations and the rest getting approval to continue operations.

    Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal asked Feldman on June 20 to lift the ban in 30 days after the judge imposes more stringent safety and oversight procedures. Such rules would incorporate the results of several ongoing drilling safety studies, including that of the presidential commission, Jindal and Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell wrote in court papers.

    Jindal’s proposed compromise would let 33 deepwater rigs idled by the moratorium return to work within a month after their well-design plans were reapproved. His proposal also requires the rigs’ blowout prevention and other safety equipment to be recertified by a regulator stationed on each platform. Jindal and Caldwell suggested the compromise in a filing made in support of the lawsuit against federal regulators.

    Failed to Consult

    Henry Dart, special counsel for the Louisiana attorney general, told Feldman that federal regulators failed to consult with state officials about the impact of the drilling ban, allegedly violating U.S. law.
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