June 22nd, 2010
01:48 PM ET

Federal judge blocks drilling moratorium in Gulf

A federal judge in New Orleans, Louisiana, has blocked a six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf.

Several dozen plaintiffs had sued President Barack Obama's administration, arguing the ban would create long-term economic harm to their businesses. Obama ordered the moratorium after the April 20 explosion of an oil rig off Louisiana that killed 11 people and triggered an underwater oil gusher.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the government will immediately appeal the ruling to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

"The president strongly believes, as the Department of Interior and Department of Justice argued yesterday, that continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened is - does not make any sense and puts the safety of those involved, potentially puts safety of those on the rigs, and the safety of the environment and the Gulf at a danger that the president does not believe we can afford right now," Gibbs said.

Read the ruling (PDF)

soundoff (522 Responses)
  1. Lacey

    I understand that people there are concerned about their livelihood...but they need to get mad at BP. This is an unfathomable disaster and it is simply, what's the word, "retarded" to continue drilling there right now. People have died, lives have been ruined, the environment and habitat will take years and decades to recover...and hasn't even been able to START that recovery yet.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mr. Hubris

    Let the well in the Gulf take it's own natural course; stop wasting billions of dollars trying to stop something and failing. So what if animals die, they don't pay taxes and don't contribute. So what if the water has oil in it, it will dissipate eventually and wildlife will recover. They do breed and evolve, and they'll be OK in the long run. People make mistakes, it's not that big of a deal, so quit whining and go find another job. Gulf residents need to stop acting like welfare wannabes and go get a job, quit complaining. You want small government, then start depending on yourselves instead of whining for my money. Let's allow oil wells anywhere there's oil in this country. That means drilling in urban downtown areas of our cities, and in the suburbs too. And we can build all that alternative stuff too. As for nuclear waste, let's store it locally in each State and not put it all in New Mexico or Arizona. And let's ban all immigration into this country for the next 20 years. No one comes in to live here, white, black, brown, green, from any other country, for any reason. Be a natural born citizen with natural born citizen parents or go back to where you came from. By the time 20 years has passed, the oil leak will be done, the water back to normal, immigration will have been stopped and the country has a chance to get over itself.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Veronica

    Does this judge have any ties to the oil industry? It is worth investigating....

    June 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      BP gave more money to the Obammie campaign than any other candidate.
      It's worth investigating.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grafixer

    If/When the next rig blows, and more people die, I'd like to see the looks on the faces of those that were in favor of drilling. I'd like those people to write letters to the dead people's families, and tell them why it was so important to continue drilling. Actually, they should write to the families of the 11 people that died on the horizon. And, they should all go directly to the gulf, and start cleaning up what their votes created. "Stupid is as stupid does." – Forest Gump

    June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Seems to me that it was a prudent move to stop the deep water drilling in the Gulf until it could be determined that the drilling could be done safely. Wells that are determined to be unsafe should be shut down. I would'nt want a loved one or friend of mine working on a rig that is not safe. Yes, there are inherent dangers in a job like this, but everything possible should be done to ensure the safety of the workers. Let's not forget the 11 human beings who lost their lives in the explosion.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gary

    I just wish Congress and Obama would get past this oil thing and back to the important issues our country faces, like steroids in baseball and fixing college football playoffs.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Yea. Didn't you hear? Obama wants to increase the taxes on steroids. Go figure.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. karen

    CNN why don't you be a news organization, and tell people the truth about what's really going on here with this BP oil spill. Fill them in on George Soros, John Podesto, and Tony Podesto!!!! How can you live with your conscience????

    June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Hubris

      Since they aren't talking, why don't you fill us in?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Obumble

    OMG, Obama actually made a knee-jerk reaction to something instead of his usual 'take 2 months to ponder it' approach! Good for this judge blocking this job-killing moratorium. Nothing stimulates the economy like shutting down an entire industry. Wake up to reality, bleeding heart liberals.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Guy Incognito

    Actually Ken – yes – they do ground airplanes if they find manufacturing defects as the result of a crash investigation. And 9 mile island is a really bad example. That incident effectively killed the nuclear power industry. It's a niche industry today specifically because of 9 mile island.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. I like tacos

    I really do!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Grog in Ohio

    "District Judge Martin Feldman said the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning and that the moratorium seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger."

    It will be interesting to see this judge's portfolio. 11 dead men and gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 60 days would normally call for erring on the side of safety. Unless you're a major stockholder in BP or Exxon and have no family or business at risk.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    I think this Judge's ruling will be overturned on appeal. The plaintiff's arguing that there is no evidence that drilling is unsafe. I realize these people are frightened at the prospect of not having work for six months but given the fact that we've had a huge oil leak going for two months with another two months. at least, to go, there are serious concerns about drilling before we know what happened to the BP rig.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GymProv

    I wonder how many Corporate ass suckers will call this guy an "activist judge"?

    When public sentiment turns against the gulf based on their STUPIDITY, then, let's see what happens.

    You CAN'T have it both ways. YEARS of safety neglect are to blame for this yet Big oil holds the economy hostage so we forget safety?

    Who needs to look at the bigger picture?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dman

    First of all, there is no way that a "group of citizens" brought the lawsuit without at least having financial backing from the oil industry. Second of all, when the worship of the almighty dollar trumps common sense, we are in trouble. If these people want to put making money ahead of destroying the environment and endangering oil rig workers, well then they deserve whatever they get.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff

    If we didn't force the banks to stops banking when that industry imploded and we didn't force all coal mines to stop mining when that mine blew up, I'm not real sure we should stop all drilling b/c BP didn't follow the rules and current regulations didn't catch them (just like banks & coal mines). From everything I've heard, if BP would've done what's written in the book, this would've never happened. So, for the rigs that have stopped drilling, let's put an inspector or 3 on each rig 24/7 to make sure that the oil co's are going by the book until the standards for how we regulate going forward can be implemented. For those of you worried about another accident, the risk is already there since we're currently trying to poke 2 more holes in the well that's already out of control. What's the difference between those wells and any others from a pure risk standpoint?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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