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. patrizia

    KEN, He is not an idiot, he is doing what should have been done a LONG time ago. ENOUGH WITH OIL!!!!!!! Unfortunately teleporting is not available yet, therefore we still need to fly, but we have plenty of much better resources than oil which have been sabotaged by.. guess who???? THE OIL COMPANIES!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      Just confirming when you say we still need to fly, but we have much better resources than oil. Did you invent something that we don't know about? What kind of plane did you invent that operates on something other than fuel? Wow, you are ingenious. Please share.

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

      My guess is, you don't have a single frickin clue about what makes this tick!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    Hey liberals, practice what you preach, shut off your cars, your AC, your heat, and use no plastics and buy no CD's, ditch your cell phone (its plastic) and LIVE BY YOUR MANTRA of no oil. Ahhh, just like Al Gore's 15,000 square foot house you cannot live by your creeds. Sure, a few libertals live in a cave, but the last time I saw most of the PC's on capital hill they were driving CARS. Oh, I own hybrid and it uses gas and oil–utter buffoons....

    June 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      We have the technology to have all these things and not use nearly as much oil. We don't NEED oil for energy, corporations NEED us to use oil to turn a profit. Sure we need it for plastics, but there are even non-petroleum based plastics available. Using these things isn't the problem. Refusing to use other forms of energy to provide them is the problem. Conservatives have been refusing to recognize (at the urging of the corporations they worship) that there are alternatives and they ARE viable and economical. If only oil wasn't so subsidized....

      June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C

      Typical dishonest right wing arguments. You guys always change the other guys points and then attack your faulty redefinitions.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • dahlimama

      dear john, I would be happy to live with less plastic it causes more problems than it's worth it is in fact poisoning us all and I would use mass transit if we had developed it here. I did buy a smaller more efficient car so I use less gas. Why does that p-ss you off?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • lee

      john, what's your arguement here? Are you for wasting of resources. "Liberals" or "conscientious and inform citizens" as I like to call them, merely recognize the need to conserve resources and consider many alternatives to mainstream use and production. History will always have those people that belittle the people with forsight and idea beyond their time. Which side of the flat world arguement are you on?? Im not saying you need to become a hippie tie dyed, hemped out freethinker, but just think about where you want your kids to live? And please, for all our sake, read or listen to multiple sources of media. BBC, economist, atlantic weekly, new yorker, NPR... all are pretty non biased media outlets. Oh and any news source that claims to be fair and balanced... probably not huh. People who have to market themselves as something usually aren't what they say. Draw your own conclusions.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave stanley

      you are the boffoon john, its all about money. The oil companies have it, and they have brainwashed the people of the south. When this spill isn't stopped in 6 months, tell me how you gonna feel then??? Bottom line is this; if they didn't have the technology to stop this spill BEFORE IT HAPPENED, they should not be allowed to keep drilling until they PROVE THAT THEY CAN STOP IT. 100 YEARS BULL, it only takes one accident such as this one to ruin things for 50 years. this isn't going to be fixed in my lifetime, probably not in my daughters lifetime. Tell me, all your republican idiots, why didn't they have this figured out BEFORE THEY WERE ALLOWED TO DRILL THERE???? Two months later, they still can't figure it out. Well, i am not an engineer, but until they figure a way to stop this well from pumping 100,000 gallons a day into our waters, ALL DRILLING IN THE GULF SHOULD BE STOPPED, SCREW YOUR JOBS,....

      June 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    "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.

    Afford what Mr. Gibbs? Afford the loss of the President's ratings and his presidency? or Aff or the loss of the blue collar / rough necker's job up and down the gulf coast who rely on those jobs to feed their famiilies?

    Did the Administration attend the same elitist "media relations" seminar as the big wigs of BP? Wow!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      ~50 rigs are shut down because of the moratorium, over 2,000 are still operating. This is minimal and BP is already providing compensation to those not working because of the moratorium. You're willing to risk an entire region's environment for the workers on 50 rigs. What about the THOUSANDS who's livelihoods are now literally covered in oil? Get your priorities straight. Nobody is winning in this situation, but taking unnecessary risk by operating rigs that we KNOW are uncontrollable if a disaster occurs is not a risk we should be taking.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Blade

    America, this is why you fail. Please pull your heads out of your collective @$$es and get with the program. You have any number of big oil companies down in the Gulf with antiquated countermeasures in the event of an oil spill.
    Drilling more holes in the earth seems just as intelligent as stopping an aterial bleed by making a cut higher up on the arm.
    Dur.
    Here's a thought kids... and I'll try to use smaller words so the Right can understand them... take non-guilty oil company A whose panties are all bunched up and people are starting to hate because everyone lumps them all together with other, more-guilty oil companies that cause major spills... *go in and clean up the mess in the Gulf*... this will prove that they have the initiative, the environmental awareness and the fiscal concern to justify their presence in the Gulf.
    If not, GTFO and stop ranting about how 'government regulations are unfairz'... the regulations are in place to stop the stupid.
    At very least don't let anyone drill down there until they have a 100% certification of equipment working properly and safety regulated so that this sort of moronic incident doesn't happen again.
    It might have been BP that started it... but America is currently sitting with its thumb up its @$$ and doing nothing.
    Sixty+ days, 100,000 gallons per day... no end in sight... do the math people.
    Spill baby, spill!
    Fix it and stop bellyaching about how the Left is trying to stop more stupid from happening... *then* we can talk about how much of an effect the US oil companies will have on the Gulf.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NoWay

    The inept MMS (to be renamed) bureaucracy is feeding garbage up the food chain to protect their own fiefdom. The hands-off afforded this self-serving bunch of goons needs to cease. Can all of them and start over. Just like most government agencies, this one exists for it's own benefit.

    Whatever information is fed to the boss, rest assured the information is to protect their own interests – not of the American citizen.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jay

    I find it funny that people are blaming the administration for haulting drilling when it was the oil companies who were cutting corners in order to save money. Now its costing them billions because of it. For those that are going to be out.. you can get in line and file your claim for damages with the fund being created. Its only 6 months to make sure it can not happen again because they dont know why it happened. Sounds reasonable to me.. The comparision to the exxon and chernobyl are way off base... one hit a reef and chernyble was because of faulty test experiment

    June 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nothizzz

    The bill READ "at the current depths"....with that meaning, that if your rig was drilling at a depth not guilded by the DOI, then you were to retract, and or cease operation, until which time scaled testing, appropriation and or validation was set into precidence. They wanted them to come back and drill at safe depth's, until which time they can assure those hazards weren't indicative of the Horizon's uncharted pattern of mining. If the rig has no recourse and or was deemed unproductive by recessive order, then, and only then would they be forced to cease and desist operations. The fact that BIG oil mandates "optimum" output depths and larger gauge piping to accomodate the retraction, doesn't mean its necessary to produce. More is not necessarily better.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dahlimama

    I don't live on the Gulf and if those folks don't mind the oil in their back yard who am I to say they shouldn't have it? I don't want to pay for it with my tax dollars after all it was BP's cutting corners that caused it. Let them pay. For those in the Gulf states that are mad at Obama for securing a fund ( oops ! I mean shaking down BP) to help them out,I say give the money back to BP, I'm sure they'll take care of y'all on their own.Don,t want a moratorium on drilling? Don't p- and moan when the next one goes.I hear Atlantis is missing 90% of their safety schematics.Sooo- Drill Baby Drill, just don't look for the rest of us to feel sorry when the next one goes!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John C

    This is proof that the GOP can convince thier cult members of anything they want. The right will blindly support anythin gthey are told as long as it is served up with hate. People arguing that we should operate unsafe wells are insane. The oil industry calling for this demonstrates they are failing to grasp the reality either.

    IF they should be allowed to operate these wells before we know they are safe to save BP bucks, then what other corners is it ok to cut? Control valves? Blow out preventers? Emergency repsone plans? What else sounds like a good.
    idea to you people? The idea that we should start these wells because of money is the exact reason we have 11 people dead and a gulf full of dead fish and oil. Your way was already tried and it ended in disaster.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      John C, you are so on the money. Obama should have mandated that all auto manufacturing here in the states be halted until the accelerator problem with Toyota was resolved also. I think anytime a crisis happens we need to shut down that industry for however long it takes to correct the issue. PLEASE! Note Sarcasm. I really do not support this hair-brained idea of the left.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      You want to block the wind turbines, the hydro-electric dams and all oil drilling.
      Did you buy your car from Fred Flintstone?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tyberious

    umm.... i think obama is dumb for shuting off the drilling it will cause more problems down the road but thats all hes good at is messing stuff up, ya the oil spill is bad but whats done is done we need to stop pionting the finger at whos to blame and work together to fix the issue.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gwen

    When the next oil rig blows up and the people in the gulf turn on their faucets and oil comes out instead of water maybe they will wake up then..A hard head makes a soft @#$%^&......they are so busy trying to defy President Obama they don't even realize they are cutting their own throats...For all you folks who want limited government, well if this happens again let the judge ,republicans and tea party folk get out there and suck it up with straws...Such a bunch of ignorant idiots!!!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      Hey Gwen, what have you personally done to help with this? You state that limited government is the result of this when actually the opposite is the truth. They would be drilling in such deep water if the government would permit them to drill more in shallower water. When the "next oil rig" blows up.... You do realize they've been drilling in the Gulf since 1910 right?!? That's a 100 years. I'm not deminishing the catastrophe, but don't make it sound like this is prone to happen all the time.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Hubris

      Why wait for the next spill? I'd prefer to see this in action immediately.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Great myth by the repubs, that they only drill in deep water because they can't drill in shallow water due to those crazy 'environmentalists'. First that isn't true AT ALL. They are still allowing shallow drilling and authorizing new wells. They found huge deposits in deeper waters, that is why they are drilling. The deposits in shallow waters are either tapped out or already claimed by other companies. Get your facts straight. "Those poor, poor oil companies being FORCED to drill where they can't handle it.' -Republican mantra

      June 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      Yes Matt, you would know. Please explain how many rigs currently sit just off of the shore in the gulf.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      32 rigs affected by the moratorium and 3109 that are not.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      That's not the question. Where are the rigs located in the Gulf and how far offshore are they? Don't use that they are out there because there is greater amounts out there. Actually the Eastern side of the Gulf has roughly 3.5 billion barrells that are in shallow water. The administration was set to lift the moratorium on drilling in this area until this disaster.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sis

    No, don't blame the people of Louisiana blame the oil companys for not having there equipment inspected and repaired. They need to stop the covering up of inspection and do ther job and maybe this would not have happen.Need to ask for inspection reports on bp.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Minh Tran

    We need to drill to provide job. We must have oil to run every thing. We also get mad when oil drill spills. We need oil drill, but it must be safe to do it. It does not matter if if Obama or Bush or Reagan or whoever. After the terrible accident, any president must be going back to drawing board on safety again. It is a common sense. Take side on Rep or Dec is not helping resolve the problem at all. Also, the problem of jobless is going on caused by outsourcing. We need to tell our Rep and Dec representatives and to tax, punish or do whatever to the big corporations to bring jobs back to US soil. There is no way any congress or president can create over 10 millions job lost to outsourcing. As long as these jobs are on oversea countries, we are on high unemployment until we take step to reverse it. Our quality of life also decreases a lot since we have no choice but buying crappy stuff made in China. Currently, I do not see any one care about it Rep or Dec.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan

    The oil industry provides jobs. There are not enough Government jobs to give to everyone!

    For those that are saying 6 months is a very short time (a believe that the length was to be at least 6 months, not just 6 months) I would like for you to go at least 6 months without a pay check!

    Have you checked the economy lately... Not too many jobs out there in the private industry with the exception of one. That's the oil industry.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Not too many jobs in the private industry? It's got to be Bush's fault. No, wait. Let's drag up Reagan!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      Most on the left do go 6 months without a check. It's called welfare. That's why they don't get it.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Hubris

      Then go find another job, or start your own business. Stop asking the government to give you a handout. That's what the rest of us have to do; you are no different just because of the particulars of your lost employment. Millions of other people have no job, so quit whining like you're better than they are. You can start by launching an oil cleanup business, since you have the experience from drilling to know what to do.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Yeah, the jobs for the workers on 50 rigs (out of over 2,000 that are STILL operating and unaffected by the moratorium) are way way more important than the thousands and thousands who can't work now because their livelihoods are literally covered in oil. Yeah, that's logical.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      Matt once again, you prove to be illogical. No one is down-playing the travesty of those that can't work because of the oil spill. It's horrible. But you don't put thousands more out of work in the process of fixing the problem. That makes sense doesn't it?!?

      June 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. caroline g.

    The Federal moritorium only restricted 32 rigs which are deeper than 502 feet. This left remaining 3109 other shallow rigs. If our government doesn't know what happened out there, then who could trust this Administration to regulate anything? If Tony Hayward failed to disclose the truth, then prepare the case for obstruction of justice and ultimately BP if they cheated, cut corners, paid off MMA officials and broke US laws while visiting here- it is not regulated by maritime law. BP has had the resources to slow the numerous oil leaks ( there is not just one volcano of poison) but in the last weeks chose to wait and see if they can get the other angular well in to drain some off to the side. They spent millions on spin, media, faking out residents of the Gulf and fabricating lies rather than science of fixing the problem at hand. We can't trust Oil Corporations to police themselves – they will take the cheap route every time. Governor of Louisiana and Florida etc need to file in court their own STATE regulations and go inspect each of these rigs and make the corporations pay for the inspections.
    Has our Federal government gotten the National Guard to mobilize a task force to reveiw every rig permit in the gulf? NO.
    The MMA has not ramped up or beefed up but Obama just quacks about a Czar he is planning to implement.

    I submitted architectural plans for concrete silos on day two and submitted plans to BP Coast Guard and Deep Water- as well as offered suggestions on mobilizing cleanup personell. This was ignored until today I got a couple return emails that they are reviewing ... No one is in charge of our YACHT. Obama you need to come to bat as a leader and act not just talk.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      "until they figure a way to stop this well from pumping 100,000 gallons a day into our waters, ALL DRILLING IN THE GULF SHOULD BE STOPPED, SCREW YOUR JOBS,...." My sentiments exactly. Their argument is tantamount to continuing the production and use of DDT because if they stop some people might lose their jobs.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      No Matt, most people just aren't closed-minded and have some business background or at a minimum understand economics. Bottom-line is is that you DON'T PUNISH those other companies that are operating safe and have not had any problems because of one company's problem. You HOLD that company liable. Hence Tylenol, Toyota and others that brought danger to normal American lives. You didn't see the govt shutting down all pain medication because Tylenol was tampered with. You didn't see govt shutting down all of the auto industry here in the states because of the accelerator problems with Toyota.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      YOU don't understand how the drilling industry works apparently. All these companies work on these rigs together. Transocean owns rigs that Shell and Exxon and Chevron all use. They use the same blowout preventers, same lax safety standards, and we know they all have crap disaster management plans and all are powerless to deal with a well failure at these depths. ALL of these companies admitted they couldn't handle a situation like this at a recent congressional hearing. If they admit they can't handle this they don't deserve to be putting America's waters and coastline at risk to turn a private industry profit. BP isn't the only responsible party (but it is the current media scapegoat). BP is being held liable and is compensating workers affected by the moratorium. Out of 3,109 rigs in the gulf only 32 are affected by this. PS I have a masters degree in economics so don't lecture me on not understanding it. Clearly you know nothing macroeconomics and very little about micro based on your faulty logic.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      I suggest you ask for a refund on your Master's then. I know exactly how they operate. What I'm saying is is that you don't punish all of the companies due to this situation.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
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