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. Whatever

    Some of you seriously make me laugh. The "until we figure out what went wrong" argument is such a load of BS. From all of the evidence of events leading up to this disaster, it should be quite clear to anyone that it was the human factor that failed on the Deepwater Horizon. A culture of cutting costs trumped more expensive but less risky solutions. What is not being adequately addressed is the Interior Department's role in all of this...who do you think signed off on BP's decisions during the weeks before the accident?

    June 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      The Big O presented them with a safety award just last year! LOL Keep trusting government.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Whatever

    We had planes flying into the World Trade Centers killing thousands of people, but apparently controls were adequate enough to get planes back in the air shortly thereafter. For all of you arm chair quarterbacks, why don’t you listen to the experts who counseled Obama about strategy, and who DID NOT recommend a moratorium? I ditto the other posters who recommend that if you don't support drilling, then ride your bike!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      911 was a planned attack against our country. The oil leak was human greed. Nobody "attacked" the oil well. Two completely different things. And by the way, I have a car, but I only use it if I go out of town. I prefer to use my bike. I love it, not only does it not use gas, but it gives me some good exercise. So just shut up.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wise_in_VA

    "...knowledge is power, and anything less when to comes to anger can be dangerous." (Sheryl Crow 2010)

    Lack of genuine, informed, knowledge is evident in many comments posted to this story. To compare the current situation with the Exxon Valdez is ignorant. To blindly continue drilling at such a depth, knowing there are no proven methods to prevent this situation from happening again, or to stop it should it happen again, is also ignorance. Speaking out before researching both sides of the situation, all of the facts and variables, is ignorant. American needs to stop blindly following political rhetoric and start to THINK!!

    As my dear old Mama says, "If your best friend asked you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?" To me, this analogy applies to those throwing up what OTHER countries are doing. It's NOT THEIR SHORELINE! Nor is it their ecosystem, their livelihoods, their past, their future, or their responsibility.

    BP is not the only deep-well drilling oil company that had/has an error-filled, outdated, and just plain useless "emergency" plan in place. What gives these executives the right to treat our citizens and our country with such contempt? If this were a nuclear power plant that "malfunctioned", and it was radiation poisoning our land instead of oil, would you still believe it OK to just let all the other nuclear power plants continue to operate? Especially if, as in the BP situation, the problem that created the disaster is inherent in all of those plants? I'll bet you'd say, "Hel-1 NO!"

    June 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      No one here is advocating that BP is off of the hook or for that matter Transocean. They need to pay and pay dearly. What they have done is devastating. HOWEVER, you don't penalize more companies and workers because of the lack of responsiblity of another company. It's bad that thousands are out of work (i.e. fishing industry), but you don't send away thousands of more jobs to fix the problem either (which is exactly what the companies are going to do by packing up and moving overseas). I believe the unemployment figures are close to 10 %, but the real numbers are closer to 20%.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RykeOden

    Libtard logic:

    One car wreck = shutdown the entire auto industry
    One surgery error = cease all surgery until doctors can be retrained.
    One train wreck = stop all trains until each rail road crossing can be elevated
    One electrical house fire = remove all electrical lines in homes
    One spoiled fruit = discard the entire truck load of produce and never purchase from that farmer ever again
    One lost war = all wars are bad m`kay it's best to surrender to avoid offending the enemy
    One Soros plant at a Tea Party Rally = all Tea Partiers are plants
    One Republican invests in oil = all Republicans invest in oil

    Where would America be if we let the libs and envirotards call the shots?

    No space program
    No air traffic
    No fuel
    Rationing food
    No medical care
    No education
    No trains
    No boats
    No exploration
    No growth
    No prosperity
    No consequence for killing the left winger sitting next to me (wait..this is a pro)

    ....and they even have the audacity to call anyone that disagrees with them "Republicans".....so out of touch they don't even know what's coming for them this November.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Haskins

      Your literary logic and descriptions in comparisons are accurate.

      No Wars, no deaths
      No drilling, no Oil
      No Banks, no money
      No racist, no hate
      No corrupt politicians, a smoother government for the people
      No bigots, no need for any group calling themselves, Tea Partiers
      No Republicans, No more No votes for nothing, regardless of it's value
      No elected officials of any race, except albino's, who have no race, so you will not have to blame anything on a White or Black or Indian etc.
      No more lies, you will only have truth
      And finally......No more likes of you, who speaks only for your self, and sounds like a fool....

      June 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      Your comparisons and logic are extremely flawed. First of all, 1 car wreck only affects 1 car full of people maybe a couple more. 1 surgery error only affects 1 person. 1 train wreck only affects 1 train, etc. 1 OIL RIG FAILURE AFFECTS THE WHOLE GULF ECOSYSTEM AND THE SURROUNDING POPULATION and PROBABLY THE WHOLE WORLD, time will only tell. Now you see how stupid your comment is?

      June 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      Another thing when 1 car crash can be linked to human design or safety error. YES ALL CARS MUST BE RECALLED because it could affect MANY MORE PEOPLE. Just look at Toyota as an example.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      Another thing is they are NOT shutting down the WHOLE oil industry. Just 32 DEEP OIL rigs out of the many thousands which still will operate. So your logic makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arthur Neal O'Nymous

      5/10 i'm calling poe on this. nobody on this earth can possibly be this stupid and still know how to use a computer.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BigD

    First it was the auto industry collapse, which critics cited too big to fail. Then it was the Health Care bill, the critics cited big government. After the oil spill, the same critics cited government is not doing enough. Now it's back to too much government involvement with the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf. Obviously for this Group of critics, there is no right that can be done by this President. Wonder why.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      you know why 😉

      June 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Char from TX

      And then if there is another oil spill who will get the blame?...the judge...hmmm

      June 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Floridaze55

    I live in Southwest Florida (Ft. Myers, Pine Island, Sanibel Island) and so far we are still pristine and clean. So far. We do not have any off shore drilling in Florida. I understand with the oil addiction that America has, there has to be drilling to supply our "fixes". That is the reality of it. I don't like it, but that's the way it is until alternate energy is developed.

    So an environmental catastrophe such as this spill not only destroys Louisianas environment, but depending on currents and weather conditions could destroy us as well. All we have is tourisim. Some shrimpers crabbers and fishermen. When the economy tanked, we went straight into a depression and are still there. Lee County had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. We were even profiled on CNN! Now we have to face the possibility of being severly impacted because of a greedy, uncaring mega corporation who has been allowed to get away with murder. Floridas economy is not oil based (except for the cars and planes that come here, admittedly).

    And now it's HUURICANE SEASON PEOPLE!!!!! With Hurricane Charlie in 2004 we had sustained winds of 147mph for three hours with gusts to 178mph. The good news is it came and went quickly. Bad news the damage was devastataing and complete. It took some areas almost five years to totally rebuild. Storm surge can carry seawater pretty far inland. Any of us on the Gulf Coast is a potential target. A system is brewing close to Haiti as we type. If a a storm pushes oiled water inland, that land will be poisoned for good.

    Living in an economnically trashed area, I understand people in LA worried about their jobs. Our daughter had to move as there are no jobs here. But the impact that this spill is having and can potentially have on so many pristine and environmentally sensitive areas outside of LA, I have to wonder are people REALLY looking at the big picture? If this thing gushes for God knows how long, eventually the impact outside of LA will far exceed what is happening there. 24 of the 32 rigs currently shut down are BP's and Andarco's. We've got BP's track record down. Shut them down one at a time until inspections are completed. This way people will still work which is more than alot of folks have here in FL. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for Florida. I'm afraid we're gonna need it.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    Everyone seems to assume that BP is wrong and, therefore, all oil companies should be punished–along with their employees and vendors. BP followed industry standard safety regulations, but suffered two catastrophic failures. Stopping all drilling without simultaneously revamping the safety regulations hurts everyone and helps no one. Do both or do neither.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. john

    When an airplance crashes... yes.. those same planes are grounded until the problem is found. I can't believe the idiots that are ok with resuming deep water drilling knowing that this could happen again at any time.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. curious steve

    let the gulf states to plug the dang hole, clean the mess, and recover all on their own. the ydeserve no federal tax dollars.

    the rest of the world should sue those moronic selfish states into oblivion when the ill effect of the spill reaches the opposite shores affecting economy and health of the innocent.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Muggs

      Suggest you check the facts. The federal government both leases the wellsites and regulates the industry. The affected states have no say in the matter.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Agreed!

      June 22, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fred Muggs

    Suggest that everyone take a deep breath and actually read the court's ruling. The Judge held that the Administration failed to have a rational basis for the moratorium and thus imposition of the moratorium was arbitrary and capricious. In a nutshell, Sec. Salazar took a report that only addressed the Horizon rig incident and tried to use it to justify an industry-wide moratorium. Stated differently, there was no evidence of industry-wide problems that justified the industry-wide ban. Further, the Administration's credibility was weakened by the fact that the DOI misrepresented the recommendations of independent scientists brought in to study the problem, among other things.

    Finally, in regard to the Judge, the suggestion that he is "on the take" is laughable. Prior to becoming a federal judge he was a plaintiff's securities/business dispute lawyer, was quite successful, and is of independent means. He is also a brilliant jurist and quite independent. He answers to no one except what he believes the law requires.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarahwonders

      your comments trying to justify a federal judge's ruling "based on one incident...deep water horizon" would be laughable if the travesty caused by this "one little incident" you speak of... was not so disgustingly tragic!

      Yeah... one incident! And if enough proof has not come out of this one disaster to show these ignorant greedy fools who want to keep on drilling just how serious the inability to contain this type of disaster is combined with no concern for our safety & our environment... if that is not enough for you.... then you are a hopeless case anyway.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Muggs

      To Sarahwonders:

      FYI, I live in New Orleans and know too well the impact of the Horizon incident. I did not characterize it as "one little incident," you did. The fact is, the government is required to follow the law. In this case they did not. Under the law, they were required to have evidence that would support the conclusion that the entire industry needed to be shut down. The government had no such evidence, and, accordingly, the government lost the case. if the government had done its job in the first place -properly regulated the industry – we wouldn't be in this predicament (and the failure to regulate spans across multiple administrations, both blue and red). If the government had properly supported its position with evidence of industry-wide problems requiring an industry-wide moratorium, the govenment would not have lost before Judge Feldman. The requirement that the government have a basis for acting, supportable in tthe courts, is what makes us a democracy rather than a dictatorship.

      June 22, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Texas Pete

    Good call judge. And I am sure the 5th Circuit court will agree with you, and so will the Supreme Court. This drilling ban was like banning everyone from driving for 6 months because someone had a bad car wreck, or banning the sport of baseball because some third grade kid broke his arm sliding into 2nd base.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sarahwonders

    It's as if these greed mongers are shouting...more...more...we want more of the same!

    It was CORRUPTION motivated by GREED that caused this monumental catastrophe. But stunningly.... there are actually others involved who are even more disgusting than the ones who caused this disaster, the greedy oil companies & the government agencies who refused to oversee the safety of the rigs in our waters. And that would be the federal judge who blocked the moratorium, the greedy people who back this decision & the ignorant fools who really don't get it.... who, for no good sensible reason, other than maybe their brains have just short-circuited, want to continue to live on the edge of another monumental disaster while we can't even get out of the one we are in now.

    Anybody in this country who is against a moratorium on deep water drilling after they have seen the devastation we are suffering as a result of man's greed.... is either a fool, a greedy fool, corrupt or just plain ignorant.

    It is truly unfathomable at this point to hear some of these freaky idiots speaking out against a moratorium as if the environment has not been catastrophically damaged; from our food chain to our water to our land to our air to our wildlife, marine life.... for decades to come.

    As I said... It's as if these greed mongers are shouting...more...more...we want more of the same!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Floridaze55

      We in FLA don't want another environmental disaster and did not ask for this one. It would be wonderful to see all rigs go into the Smithsonian, but it will never happen. Big oil owns too many politicians and people who are frightened of change. Change can be good. But Big oil's power will make sure it never happens. I've fished FLA waters since I was 5 (50 years) and it tears me up that my grandchildren may not know Florida's nature as I have been priviledged to know.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sarahwonders

    If the billions of dollars BP is going to pay to the gulf coast states, to the fishermen, to the oil rig workers, to the businesses that have been damaged as a result of this disaster.... if all of those billions of dollars just aren't enough for you to live on..... & if after BP has paid you those billions & you find your thirst for greed still cries out for more off shore drilling.... then do what a large majority of other Americans have had to do... go find a different kind of job!

    You can use some of all that money to get training in a whole new profession. And if that doesn't do it for you & your ignorant greed still cries out more deep water drilling... then use some of that money to have your brain checked & go get yourself some help! please!

    June 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Floridaze55

      There is not enough money in the world to buy back your environment

      June 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jean

    Interesting that the obviously liberal comments are riddled with name calling, insults and nasty comments. Nothing new there.
    Some day alternative energy will come to fruition but we aren't there now. The Space Program wasn't wasn't developed in the 1700's and air travel didn't come along till the 1900s either.
    It's a progression of innovation, science and technology. You can not mandate it by taxing or punishing.
    In the mean time we need energy (oil) to run our society and eventually come to alternative fuel technology.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      Why don't you start reading previous comments before you say dumb things. Just go up a few comments and see who is name calling by saying "libtards". It makes your comment seem really stupid.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      A 6 month moratorium on DEEP oil drilling is NOT shutting down the industry nor is it a "punishment" as you say, but rather a precaution to find out why, and to prevent it in the future.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dr. Anthony Hayward

    See dis be not what I kan unastan about you amereecans. You argyu with one other peeples and no make sense! Sum of you tink gowing bak to dreeling is gud idea? Do not you think thur is enuff oyl in your oshuns? You want more brown pelikans? On dee odda side, you can not buy discount oyl like I seel from turban kountries like Iran, even thoe they our nise and want to heelp you kleen speel!

    Only won kwestshun I has for you crazy amereecans!? Why peeple who yell "Dreel babee dreel!" too months ago now yell "BeePee ruins beeches!! BeePee is beeg pollutor!! No Dreel babee!!"? Why?!

    All so, peeple in south who have oyly nasty beeches from are small speel wur yelling "BeePee is bad! BeePee KEELL FISHES we likes to eats!!" But now they say "WE WANT MORE OIL! DREEL BABEE DREEL!!" It like you not think with heads but think with book you keep in pocket with your greenback!

    Somewan xplain dis to mee please!!!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Floridaze55

      That was beautiful. I'd write more but I'm laughing too much. Very good!

      June 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bliss

      To this person that is named Dr. Anthony Hayward.....I must say, you are very stupid and certainly not funny. I am from south Louisiana and you have no clue what is really happening here! God forbid if you are really some kind of doctor or just plain dumb!

      June 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
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