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. bob martin

    eric 1325 your an idiot.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Debra

    About damn time someone grew some ba11s down south!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    You guys that are anti-oil companies need a lesson in plain old economics. The average rate of return for the industry is at the average of all types of business. Don't you believe in companies getting an average rate of return?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kari

    I'm so caught in between. On one hand, the man I love is a pipe fitter and works his butt off at a VERY dangerous job to earn a living at an oil refinery here in Texas... On the other.. I really do believe this is a wake up call to start seriously weening ourselves off oil & gas. I know it's going to hurt financially when our carbon based economy comes crashing down ... but just don't think there's a gentle way to go about it. The way of life we have all become accustomed to is simply unsustainable. There will be a lot of pain and loss during the coming transition but we will bounce back stronger and more secure. We have to.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brown

      Very good comment. A person that didn't point the finger but just made a sound comment.

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

      So well put. When the fist cars went on the road, thousands of people in the horse and carriage industry lost their jobs. Everyone from horse breeders and ferriers to the men who made buggy whips. But, in spite of those people's struggles, we had to move on as a society. Now, we all have to come to grips with the reality that fossil fuel needs to go away, just like the horse and buggy did.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    Is this one of those 'Activist Judges' the Republicans keep warning us about?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sean

    The judge's decision is outrageous and just plain stupid. Executives from big oil admitted before a Congressional committee that their emergency response plans are inadequate for deep water drilling. What more is it going to take before we wake up? And those who say that the rigs out there have all passed safety inspection, should be reminded that Deep Water Horizon passed inspections too. Let just get it over with and kiss the planet goodbye now. I'm off to find a cave somewhere where I can obtain some message of safety.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rich

    Of course the president can halt drilling. This has no chance of being upheld.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jake

    Good. Drilling is SAFE. There hasnt been a rig disaster in over 30 years until this one. Blocking it would do nothing but raise oil prices (making BP and other companies more money in return), drive up gas prices and cost consumers more money.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kari

      Honestly... haulting drilling in the Gulf of Mexico isn't going to make a big enough dent in the world oil supply to drive up gas prices. And even if it did... There are bigger things at stake here than the dollar. Although most fail to see it, there are far more important things to care about than money & finances.

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

      There have many close calls. One years boot and coots came out to the rig I was on twice. When those guys come out it is bad. You just don't here about thoses incidents. Both times it was preventable but due to bad decisions the problems were exasturbated.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lyden

    This is actually an important decision. The people of Louisiana realize that there need to be inspections of the oil rigs and the safety devices, but we cannot receive the economic blow of a moratorium. We are already set to lose thousands of jobs due to the oil spill and its impact on the fishing industry and we do not want to lose all of the jobs associated with the oil industry. When a coal mine explodes in West Virginia due to poor safety, the country does not put a moratorium on coal mining because it would be devastating to West Virginia. Just because the government isn't doing a good job inspecting oil rigs, it doesn't mean Louisiana should lose thousands of jobs because of their lack of oversight. We are just as interested in the government investing in alternative forms of enegery, but we will not suffer from a naive decision to restrict all deep-water offshore drilling. In addition, the government needs to start giving Louisiana its fair share of oil revenue retroactively.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindsay

      Well said! I doubt the people who want us to stop drilling have turned in their cars, lawnmowers, and lipstick.

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

      That's a knee jerk reaction at best.
      But when the next one blows, at least we'll know specifically who is to blame. And if Louisiana wants deep water drilling, they should get it. They should also be 100% responsible for every penny of cost associated with cleanup when it happens again. (It will...it's inevitable with this type of drilling. Not a matter of 'if' but 'when' because history has shown us that.)

      There are literally THOUSANDS of other non-deep water oil rigs still operating. The moratorium was UNTIL SUCH TIME THAT the wells could be inspected and cleared for safety. That's all.

      Here's my hope: As much as I've felt bad for the people who live along the Gulf, the smart ones realize this needs to end and end now until it can be as fail-proof as possible. But you get what you deserve in life so when the next leak does come, I hope there's absolutely NO coverage, no hearings, no finger pointing and no help for the people who support this ridiculous activity. We KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are variables that cannot be controlled.

      It'll happen again and when it does, I'll be ignoring it. My heart went out to those who lost their jobs, it went out to those who were hit by the oil washing up on the beach and it went out to the thousands of dead animals washing up on the shore daily.
      Never again.
      This country is a nation of fools. We never learn from our mistakes, we just ignorantly continue forward.

      What's the cost of some of these jobs compared to the billions it's going to cost to fix the second one? One top of the billions it's cost when this latest one hasn't even been repaired.

      Fools....so embarrassing to be a part of a nation where intelligence takes a back seat to 'we need 'er jobs!'
      You want it...you got it. Enjoy your oil, your ruined beaches, your ruined small business associated with this spill. Because those are the costs of what you want. Take the bad with the good and accept that the next round of finger pointing will fall on deaf ears as the LA people who cried wolf get what they ask for.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Florida

      when coal mines explode they don't cost neighboring states millions of dollars in economic loss. please figure out the difference between an apple and an orange!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kari

      @ Lindsay
      Actually I've started driving slower and less by consolidating trips. I stopped wearing petroleum based beauty products several years ago... and my lawn.. well. I've cut back to mowing only once or twice a month.. Sure the yard gets a little shabby, but the bunny who lives out there sure seems to enjoy it. Thinking about just buying a couple goats. 🙂 I & my nasal allergies hate mowing anyway. I also have re-usable shopping bags, ride my bike in town instead of taking my Prius, eat organic food (locally grown when possible) have energy star appliances, I recycle... the list goes on. I make it a personal goal to make one aspect of my life a little greener each & every month. It's not really that hard for each and every one of us to make little differences in our lives that start to add up. If we, not just as a nation, but as a planet, are going to survive in this world we are all going to have to start doing more to make our way of living on it more sustainable.
      Love & Light
      )O( Kari )O(

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

    Sounds like another activist judge to me. . .

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jimthedo, Phoenix, AZ

    Just wait till the next one blows up thanks to the corrupt judge.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      When was the last one before thi sone? Oh wait, 31 years ago.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tshane

    Someone tell me again who's administration gave a carte blanche pass on inspecting this specific well....oh yeah, THIS ONE!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lori

    Bought and paid for by big oil...I'm from this region...this is a terrible mistake by the judge...

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mr. mark

    now it's on them. another oil spill happens – a real possibility given the short shrift ALL of Big Oil pays to environmental protection – and they can wallow in it.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dave stanley

    big oil will TRY to continue to get its way, you know, you people in this area seem to be under some kind of hypnotic spell to the oil companies, they have ruined your "way of life" with fishing and crabbing and oysters, but you still want them to "drill baby drill," personally, i think you are idiots to even THINK about drilling more wells, BP has you all under its spell, so tell me who is worse, BP or the people that want to keep drilling??? These oil companies BLATENTLY have paid people off to get their own way, it is all about greed. The oil companies could care less about you people, but yet you talk on obama for wanting to make sure it doesn't happen again, if it does, we are all in trouble. Blame here clearly lies on obama's predecessor for allowing the deep water drilling to happen in the first place....get a life people....blame BP for this, not obama....

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
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