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. Grafixer

    So, that means, it is OK for Toyota to continue to sell cars that may have faulty brakes, right? It is OK to continue to sell Chinese toys that may have toxins in them. Don't put regulations in place, or inspect before you let this happen... That might cause job loss for a while. Wow. Such short sightedness. Again, when more people die, this judge should look every family member in the eyes, and tell them how he came to this decision. Amazing.

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

      Your comparisons are wrong. If you're mad at Toyota for faulty brakes, then you would need to ban all cars with disc brakes for this to be an accurate comparison.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew

    I'm sure every last one of you complaining about the drilling uses oil in some form. I commend the judge. Obama said we need to focus less on foreign sources of oil and how can we if he (Obama) places a moratorium on offshore drilling from the US?

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

      Agrees with you Andrew! Thanks for your post.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Oh, I forgot, Obama will blame it on Bush like he consistently does. Where was Obama a week, two weeks, three weeks after the spill??? Remember Gene Kranz (Failure is not an Option), project manager for NASA, when things like this happen you form a coalition, lock people in rooms and brainstorm, process map, conduct FMEA, root cause analysis, this clown did nothing of the sort, just "talked a good game", talking is NOT leadership. 60 days later he is still talking and no consortium, just a bunch of PhD's that never touch a well clamoring in academia about how to fix the spill. Obama will lose in 2012 because he is OUT OF TOUCH with the general public–aka immigration, he supports the PC liberals that give more support for people breaking our laws then the people working and paying taxes. Socialism at its finest...

    June 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Well he did visit the region shortly after the spill... and the Coast Guard was mobilized essentially right when it happened and began skimming and controlled burns.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      No Matt, I'm pretty sure he was singing Karaoke with Paul.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave stanley

      your an idiot John. How bout Bush and the wonder ful job he did with Katrina, oh yeh and the iraq war, oh yeh, and gas prices going from 1.25 to 4.00 overnite, oh yeh, and the worst recession since 1929, one more, how bout 2 wars he started we won't/can't win,...uh lets see, anything else he did wrong in 8 years,..??? how bout EVERYTHING HE DID WAS WRONG,....you republicans make me sick to my stomach....

      June 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. poppy

    I just hope that Bobby Jindal and the others who filed this lawsuit don't cry for help if, heaven forbid, there is another blow-out in one of these deep water wells. I hope that all goes well, but it just seems like an unnecessary risk to me. I hope Jindal buys a bunch of those vacuum barges and has them ready in case it happens again. The next time, he'll have no one to blame but himself.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bbrooker

    INSANITY! Had this been an accident at a nuclear power plant that was still spewing radiation out into the atmosphere, I guess this judge would block an emergency moratorium on nuclear power too! NO MORE REPUBLICANS, NEVER AGAIN!!! THEY DO NOT HAVE AMERICA'S BEST INTEREST AT HEART!! REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave stanley

      with ya bbrooker,...

      June 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. debbie

    Tell you what, Gulf staters: Drill your fool heads off. But when the next one blows up, don't come to ME for tax dollars to clean up your mess, rebuild your economy etc. Are you THAT freaking stupid and short-sighted? No wonder you keep getting hit with tragedy. God is trying to tell you something, maybe you need to listen.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Stacie

    All of you people talking about the greed of the oil company, what do you think we need to run this planet? Oil, gas, fuel. I dare you to go run around in your hybrid without changing the oil in the engine or having to have gasoline in it. Do me a favor, stay off the freeway since you can't exceed 40 mph before your car switches to gas. Go ahead show all of us haters how you do it, don't use your heater in the winter go outside and start a fire in your backyard to stay warm, oops, I forgot you would have to cut down a tree, we couldn't have that now could we? You know if we started drilling in our own country for our own oil we wouldn't have to worry about padding the pockets of the oil barrons overseas. But then again, there really isn't alot of common sense floating around the US today is there? Not even from the White House.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arthur Neal O'Nymous

      How about you take your mouth off the bottle the oil industry is feeding you? We'd be on alternative energy already if it weren't for THE OIL INDUSTRY trying to protect its PROFIT SCHEME.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rogue judge?

    Rogue judge? I guess who haven't been paying attention: there's a new administration that believes in controlling every aspect of your lives and forgets the oil riggers who provide gas for your cars that I know you drive won't have an income. They also are worried more about the rights of terrorists and illegal aliens than hardworking Americans and military servicemembers who make sacrifices every day. Wake up democowards!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Floridaze55

    Instead of shutting down 72 rigs ( there's over 3,000 in the Gulf) all at once, shut them down one at a time for inspection. If it checks out ok, bring it back online then shut down the next one, etc, etc, until all are properly inspected repaired whatever. Rig workers get paid while theirs is down. This will keep the support businesses up and running and will still get the inspections done. This is a horrific situation that cannot be allowed to happen again. The environment can't take it. People can't take it.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Hubris

      That's not a bad idea. I like it.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lisaspups

    It is nice to see that things never change - our society remains stuck on stupid. How long are we going to have to accept the excuse that we cannot get rid of oil until we get something else? It has been 40 years since the crisis in the '70s and they said the same thing then. It is never going to be easy, so like my military father used to say, "suck it up," America. And with regard to these families suffering due to the oil spill, how about making BP set up a fund to send these people back to school while paying them their salary?? God forbid, we have a competent workforce in place to handle the needs of our changing energy economy. That would take initiative and forward thinking, something the human race seems to be severely lacking in these days.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rod from Indy

    Until the companies can show a plan detailing EXACTLY how they would handle another disaster of this magnitude, we can't allow drilling to go forward. Yeah, gas prices might rise. The Gulf may suffer...but allowing the oil companies to continue to operate they way they have been is ridiculous. The definition of insanity??? Allowing the GOP's precious big businesses(oil) to keep doing the same exact thing and expecting different results. More hits like this oil spill will hurt this country beyond belief.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • vegas01

      Here's the plan: Ignore the feds and do what has proven to work. Do not delay burn off. Do not stop using disbursement materials. Do not wait for feds to 'come up with a plan to make everyone happy; that just results in everyone being unhappy at the indecision.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ed1966

    I think people who complain about drilling for oil should be the first to park their car, stop heating their homes, and no longer fly. I mean come on people! We need oil for the forseable future until other viable technologies become available. We cannot opertate on solar and wind alone. Would you rather keep paying the Mideast for their oil? While you sit and whine, China and Russia are securing their future energy needs by drilling near our own coast!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Guess what, there is a non-financial cost to oil. That is pollution and environmental destruction. Those aren't priced into the cost of using oil. If it was, then other technologies would be much cheaper than oil. We spend billions (indirectly) dealing with the effects of oil usage – those costs are just passed onto the taxpayer and the gov't instead of being incorporated into the price of the energy. Get it!? Also 'American Oil' is a myth. You think oil drilled her somehow magically stays here? Soon as that stuff gets pulled out of the ground it enters the global market and is sold to the highest bidder. Most oil in Alaska goes to Russia for instance. Oil corporations are global, they don't give a SH** about the U.S.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. vegas01

    Hallelujah, a judge with more sense than our president. The magnitude of this spill would be less had the feds not hindered the process of containment. The most dangerous thing in the gulf right now is the feds so-called leadership.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C

      The most dangerous thing here remains the cult like mind of today's Right who's policies created this disaster and are to stupid to learn anything from it. BP cut corners for profit and people died! Now you fools want to cut corners for profit and this time we know for sure there is a problem. Not "what if" or " this could happen". It happened, and not one of you can say it will not happen again. So let's cut corners and get the wells going again because Rush limpBut says it's safe? Lets just do the same thing over again and expect a different result next time?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lee

    Wow, these post never cease to amaze. I won't even get into the terrible misguided political rhetoric that people use but think about this fact: the moratorium was for 6 months. 6 months people, get over it, it's halfway done. The effects of another potential spill far outweigh the losses for those people that work for the industry and company profits. 6 months...

    June 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • vegas01

      Halfway there and what have they learned in doing so? Wells have drilled there for years without incident, and you think 6 months will likely introduce another spill. We learned in a few days afterward that the feds thought this outfit was stellar in their operations while they were using equipment other oil experts say they would never use. A moratorium on similar wells using the same questionable equipment or perhaps even those receiving feds praise, but not everyone. There is no tangible link to expect a repeat incident.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. William

    I am so tired of people saying, " We need oil without checking into the alternative possibilities! We need to get away from oil now. We can produce oil from Algae if that industry is given a chance. Has anyone who is for more drilling bothered to look into it? Lousiania could easily grow algae because of its climate. You could put alot of people to work in that industry. Well I guess it doesn't matter to the oil companies if the Gulf of Mexico becomes a Complete Deadzone! If all the animals die and sea life is gone, then the oil companies will be able to drill and not worry about the enviornment because there will be no enviornment to worry about. And so all the people who promote drilling are just pawns of the oil companies. The oil companies by their actions do not care about the enviornment. The One and ONLY THING they care about and it is MONEY, Period End of Story! End of Story for the Gulf!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Since getting oil from algae is so simple, start up your own algae company to compete with big oil.
      Make sure you use your own money, not a government grant.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • lee

      Oh because goverment money has never been used to subsidize oil company exploration and profits... It's why we have a military. Oh sorry we're fighting for freedom I forgot.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
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