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. Dave

    Give that great Kenyan leader a bicycle to travel around in, his Air Force 1 jet obviously doesn't need petroleum.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      What does Mwai Kibaki have to do with anything?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Is Obammie letting HIM sleep in the White House for free also?
      Figures......

      June 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • GulfCoast

      Dave

      Keep posting! You sound like a complete uneducated moron. It's a good thing that you are incognito on this site. LOL@U!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      Go back to your trailer, and watch some more FAUX news. Geesh. LOLOLOLOL.
      You might want to consult a map – if you have one – and learn where Kenya even is!
      Ignorance is not bliss... It is just ignorance.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realistic

      @ Dave: The moratorium was put on new offshore drilling. This will not stop us from getting our oil we need but will stop new drilling for six months. And Yes we will still have enough oil to live, use and all that good stuff we use oil for. But I bet some how someone will argue it will cripple our supplies and the gas pric will raise. However, if you do some research, basic research, at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf drilling projects and at least 17 drilling permits given out since the moratorium. And Ken Salazar reiterating that the agency had no intention of stopping all new oil and gas production in the gulf. And Dave, The Department of the Interior officials said in a statement that the moratorium was meant only to halt permits for the drilling of new wells. It was not meant to stop permits for new work on existing drilling projects like the Deepwater Horizon. See, drilling is still going on but no new drilling. It will be ok dave...

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

      That bicycle seat has petroleum products in it, so I suggest removing it. He can ride the bicycle with the metal pole going up his butt.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Drill baby drill

    Way to go for this judge. The administration once again, overstepped it's bounds. This is what happens when you wait two months to speak to the CEO of BP and instead play golf. Instead of sending lawyers to the Gulf Mr. O, how about getting some real people down there that can figure out how to plug this hole?1?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • GulfCoast

      Drill baby drill

      I take it you don't live on the Gulf. All of those people have had their livelihoods destroyed by you and your ilk.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      You people just can't seem to get your story straight. Less Gov't. But More Gov't... they are not doing enough. They do something, and then it is... Overstepping. If they had not placed the moratorium, and another rig blew, you'd be all over that too. Sad that you are so stuck with a bruised ego over having lost an election. When more people die, and more oil pollutes our waters, I hope YOU are personally there to tell the families of the dead that you wanted them to keep drilling.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cindy Sundberg

    Unbelievable. It is time to stop pandering to the monied and begin working for the greater good of the country and the people of the world. This judge is surely in somebody's pocket, and it ain't the Have-Nots.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe R.

      The Judge is in their pockets? How about President Obama and many of the politicians on both sides of the aisle? Let's face it, our country is dependent on oil unless you want to walk or bike everywhere or stop using anything with plastic. That's life folks!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike smith

    Most of the people in the usa do not understand how significant offshore drilling is off the coast of louisiana. When an airplane crashes or a defective car is made those industries or not shut down. Why the moratorium under this situation?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • WilmaWonka

      No, airlines are not shut down because of a crash but an investigation is done and planes are recalled and fixed when the problem is found.
      Deep oil drilling is important but finding a solution to another blowout is more important here.
      If another spill occurs, whos to say who will pay? BP claims it will pay for the damage but I submit that they will sue to get out of it just like Exxon did in Alaska. Economic strain? If another spill occurs in this region, the economic strain will linger longer than the current residents will be alive.
      6 months to try to find a way to prevent such catastrophies doesn't seem like a long time considering the consequences if we don't.
      Plus, there's always shallow drilling. There's no ban on that but coastal residents just don't want their ocean view spoiled.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    Thank goodness for checks and balances – it keeps this country from becoming a dictatorship!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Yeah, like when that Patriot Act was passed?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • GulfCoast

      The least informed seem to think they are smarter then the President. Little parrots!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BRich

    "The government will immediately file an appeal" = we will continue to fight the Gulf Coast residence's right to earn a living so that we can further sell our cap and trade bill....
    We are under siege America.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindsay

      Agreed.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • GulfCoast

      We are under siege alright, by big corporations!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe R.

      Agreed.

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

      @GulfCoast: WORD!!!

      June 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JR

    The Gov't issued permits and now wants to arbitrarily rescind them. Obama needs to get his graft taking agency on the ball and inspect these rigs.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grafixer

      "his graft taking agency" was staffed during the Bush administration. And, you are right. They need to speed up cleaning out the crooks there, and get those rigs inspected... pronto! Problem is, many of the safety regulations were lifted over the past decade. So, that means, they also have to put those safety regs back into place. And, getting ANYTHING through the Repugs in the Senate, that will cost an oil company anything, will be difficult. So, in the meantime, if a rig blows, and more people are killed, I guess it will fall squarely on the shoulders of this judge and the people that supported this decision to drill without knowing what might happen. Hmmm. Stupid is as stupid does.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bravado in boston

    angry! this makes me just so angry! their livihood is evaporating anyway....BP is paying many of those displaced workers in compensation.

    Let's not put a drill to the floor of the ocean until the problems are fixed and safety policy manuals are updated.

    will people in this country EVER come to thier senses?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Get your spelling fixed.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mrmustard

    As "Deep Throat" said:

    "Follow the Money"

    I hope another rig goes out of control. I suggest the we should be giving all the BP executives a viking funeral at this point. There is plenty of flammable material on the beaches to do so.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. See ya

    Wow. Sorry Obama – A judge ruling against you will now sink your presidency now faster than the Horizon oil rig went down. Wow.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • GulfCoast

      "shaking my head"

      You people sound really unlearned. Do you read?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lindsay

    Finally! Sense prevails! We can't throw the baby out with the bathwater...

    June 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ruslyn

    This ruling has saved more jobs than the stimulus package has.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim MN

      Correction. This sage ruling saved private sector jobs. Obamas frivolous and self-serving stimulus plan created worthless government jobs which continue to suck the life out of the economy.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. T LoDo

    All you people against oil...turn in your cars and ride your bikes. Don't forget you can't use anything plastic either. Wake up.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    Let the deep water drillers find new jobs, hopefully something that does not destroy the environment. How about building solar and wind machines. Deepwater drilling is not worth the risk. With the big spill, it is now evident we do not have the means to drill safely.

    It's greed that is driving peoples desire to drill in the gulf. How do you people sleep at night? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Stop the greed

    June 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      In case you hadn't noticed "greed" or the bad word profit is what makes the world go around you idiot

      June 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Good point, one that I tried to make in an earlier post. Put the peeps to work on the windmill platforms instead of the oil platforms. Lends some sense to making that shift now, rather than later. They would have to cut ALL beuracratic red tape to make it happen NOW tho to make any real sense

      June 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      While I'm all for some wind turbines, they require plastic, which requires oil. Talk about a Catch 22

      June 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Great suggestion since it doesn't affect you. How about if they give up their job and in return, you give up your vehicle. I suppose you honestly believe that our need for oil will magically disappear.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      It is evident that BP cannot drill safely, not the industry.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mary

    This makes no sense! The judge is sympathetic to the wealthy oil companies who would lose money if their business was put on hold but not towards the hundreds of families that are now broke and unemployed and have lost their businesses because of the oil spill? What about the ecological damage and the many animals and sea life that have been destroyed and/ior injured? Sounds like there was a bribe somewhere...

    June 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nola

      If you knew anything about the suit, you would know that it was not brought by the oil companies, but by the service companies who employ thousands of people. When 9/11 happened, they didn't stop flying for six months. There are rules and regulations in place; had the government inspected things the way they should have, the explosion would not have happened. This is the first serious problem with drilling in the Gulf since 1979 (that one was in international waters, not US waters.) Why should hundreds of thousands of people be out of work because the President wants to push his energy plan? Drilling can be done safely and has been by many companies over decades.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • notimportant

      The oil industry provides alot more jobs in the gulf south than the fishing industry. This moratorium would effectively kill both industries. I hate what has happend to the environment, wildlife, and the fishing industry, but the economies of several states will be hit harder by the bans on drilling. Most of the jobs affected (the guys on the platforms, driving the boats, providing the materials and piping, etc.) provide well paying jobs that don't always require a ton of education. These guys can support a family with these jobs.

      These are the real people losing jobs due to the ban. And yeah BP can probably compensate them, but months down the line. What does that do while you wait for money to put food on the table, pay your house note, etc? The oil companies will go elsewhere to drill and make money, but the workers here in the south and the companies in state can't do that.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
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