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. Who likes tacos?

    This guy likes tacos!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. steve harnack

    The judge's decision is flawed in that not one of the plaintiffs will lose any income because their claims to BP money would be valid. The judge just wanted to make a political statement which as I understand it is something conservatives claim to abhor. More do as I say not as I do from Republicans.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shawn

    Meh...might as well start her up again, folks won't get it in their heads that this is a bad idea until thier lawns are covered in Oil.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Hubris

      Good. Less to mow, more time for sports. And it gets rid of jobs for illegals in landscaping.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BrianTX

    Bank robbing was put to stop. The the company who provides getaway car lost business.

    In a pro-business US, that's a huge deal....

    June 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Isaac

    How about they require all deep water rigs to test their blow out preventors and have a safety audit prior to letting them start back operating. But every effort should be made to get them back going as quickly and as safely as possible.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      I agree. But when have you known the Federal government to act efficiently or swiftly? I mean it took Obama 2 months to finally meet with the CEO of BP even though he stated that the administration was "IN CHARGE" since day 1.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jane

    Interesting language in the ruling. More interesting are the plantiffs. Fall-out will certanly trump any speculation.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fishnthekeys

    This Judge made a mistake as the issue is too hot and close to everyone's face to make the right call on drilling. If we get another spill in the gulf, the economy of the entire region will be a non-factor unless we want to turn the entire gulf into a huge lifeless tarpit. A 6 month moratorium on drilling isn't the end of the world, it's just less profits for oil companies in the short term, which is exactly what put us in this mess, greed. Every offshore well, shallow or deep, should have a multi-ram BOP ( min 3), and 2 relief wells pre-drilled, one at 30% depth and another at 70%. Once that is in place and the respective oil companies are in progress of complying, then we can talk about lifting the moratorium but I think its pretty clear that there should be no new offshore or sideways onshore based oil drilling...ever. It's time to harness other sources of clean safe energy and if your company, education, and employment aren't suited for alternative energy, it's probably time you get out there and learn something new. It's amazing that we continue to protect oil and gas in the name of profits and environmental destruction. I thought we were much smarter than that. We're the only species on the earth that has the capacity to affect our own destiny and yet we keep doing things to make ourselves sicker while wrecking the planet. It's mind-numbingly stupid that we can act this way and call ourselves an intelligent species......let's have more pollution so that we can have more money so that we can have more illness and cancer. Anyone catch the docuentary "Gasland" on HBO.....you can't argue with people getting sick. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is a prequel to Gasland and what it will do to our environment. Check it out.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    Finally! A politician with a brain! Obama is a dictator...States rights and the people rule. Not Obama.

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

      So Matt you must think it is okay what BP did to the Gulf. You won't mind when the next leak happens and it will. You talk about states rights then people like you complain the Fed Gov isn't doing enough in this disaster. You want State's rights? Then pick up this mess yourself and pay the other coastal states for their losses.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      this is a federal issue (drilling in federal waters) this has nothing to do with the states. i'm a person and I WANT the moratorium, no more deep water drilling on the 32 rigs out of 3109 that are in the gulf that do it until we can actually CONTROL THE WELL if something bad happens.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      Brian you state that when the next leak happens and it will..... Please show proof that you can read the future. Oil rigs have been drilling in the Gulf since 1910. I don't recall there being anything like this over the last 100 years.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RykeOden

    Wow..some people actually think oil will come out of their water faucets. Talk about scraping the bottom of the intellectual barrel just to garner a few votes. Funny how this Hope-n-Change thing is mentally incapable.
    The feeble yet hypocritical minds currently infesting the White House seems to be plentiful these days.

    I say we prevent these hypocrites from fueling up to go to work and shut off their lights...let us see how their little minds try to log on and complain about the energy they use, the gas the ambulance uses, and the fuel the police use when I show up to their house to take what I want.
    The oil spill is not the problem...the backwards logic from the out of touch left wing moonbats will cause more damage to America than any fossil fuel. Just look at how they helped California.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      yeah nobody literally thinks oil will come out of faucets (although in reality petroleum chemicals are present in all our drinking water already). you are at the bottom of the intellectual barrel, your post proves that.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      Yeah and nobody is saying we can just suddenly get off oil. It is like any other addiction: First, you must realize you have a problem, then you must work hard to wean yourself off of it little by little. Then learn to live your life without it. It is a process that takes time, but the first step is to realize "I have a problem" and then change the road your on. Dude, get real.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bbrooker

    So if this was a nuclear disaster with radiation still spewing into the atmosphere with no end in sight we'd still have Republican's apologizing to the energy company who caused the accident and opposed to any emergency moratorium on nuclear power because it might put a minority of people out of work. Talk about stupid, Republicans have shown their truest colors, and it ain't the red white and blue– it's pure evil black.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Haskins

      God knows, you are so right on top of this.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      Yes we Republicans want everyone dead. We want all wildlife gone also. You sure have us rednecks figured out!

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

    If these people are still crying to be paid, who of the 32,000 claimants has received the 150 million dollars paid out so far? and what of the 20 billion set aside for those who are missing there salaries because of these deep water drilling rigs being shut down?

    June 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jpat

    We need to reach a compromise. Countinue Drilling, but until a safe method of penitrating the oil cavity is proven effective, stop drilling. This would allow time for both sides to agree, and not hold up all drilling for 6 months.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brad

    @Jessica
    After the 1989 spill, Congress gave companies until 2015 to phase out all single-hull tankers operating in U.S. waters and replace them with thermos-like dual hulls. The idea: If an iceberg, reef or collision punctured a ship's outer shell, the inner core that holds its oily cargo could still stay intact.
    Roughly half the world's tanker fleet has not converted to double hulls.

    And, among the U.S. fleet, enough companies have put off building new vessels that some shipbuilders fear a last-minute cascade of orders — and appeals from some in the oil industry to ease regulations.

    U.S. law has required that tankers traveling between U.S. ports be built in the United States. But last fall, U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., slipped a measure into a homeland-security bill that could save some oil carriers millions, allowing them to get waivers to use cheaper, and perhaps older, foreign ships until new tankers are built.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard Lugar

    This is absurd, there are other leaking wells in the Gulf right now. It just makes sense to reset and evaluate. Tea Partiers – Do we drill baby spill , how about a coal plant in your back yard. This country is NOT yours to take

    June 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      News flash for ya Richard, it's not yours either to mandate. November here we come!

      June 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Whatever

    Where are my posts?

    June 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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