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. Matt

    Dumb. This was a moratorium on DEEP WATER rigs, there are multiple THOUSANDS of shallow water rigs that are still operating. Deep water rigs that clearly we don't have the technology to handle if something goes wrong. It's ironic that Transocean had the gall to argue against the moratorium when their own rig started all this. They told us this could could never happen before. Now it has happened, and we are supposed to believe their claims that this can't happen again? This isn't about 'hurting the region's economy' this is about the oil industry's bottom line. There are still thousands of rigs that can operate that aren't in deep water.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      Yup. I America needs another lesson from above. Maybe they need another well to explode so they can learn the lessons of GREED.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      If America gets destroyed soon. We all know why. We deserve everything we get because of these type of decisions.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. OH-MAN

    A note from Rhode Island:
    Thank God someone has finally STOPPED THE INSANITY!
    No sense in destroying the only healthy part of the economy that doesn't see I-phones or booze!
    Losing another 2 million jobs would do wonders for our economy...

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

      except this is only a moratorium on deep water rigs, most rigs are shallow. 50 or so deep water rigs and thousands and thousands of shallow water rigs. clearly the industry can't handle a deep water disaster..why should we continue with this??? it's illogical.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Florida

    if you think big oil doesn't run things then you are as stupid as the judge

    June 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SOD 369

    There we go again, putting GREED before SAFETY. As you see, the ONLY reason they did this is because "it will hurt somebody economically". I wonder what the consequences will be this time. America deserves what it is asking for.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ken - Tampa, FL

    The moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf was a knee-jerk reaction by this administration. What they should have done was call for immediate inspection of all BP's deepwater drilling platforms and make sure they were not using the same shortcuts as what was attempted on the Deep Water Horizon. Wells that have been working for months or years without incident should be allowed to continue their work.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    Republicans for decades have put profit and cheap gas ahead of the lives of the American people and the environment. Their facination with wasting resources and mocking safety and environmental regulations has no end. This would be the time for Obama to step in and with an executive order shut down BP for national safety reasons and all of their oil wells running in the gulf or anywhere else that America has jursitiction... sieze their assets and use them to implement stronger environmental controls. There is push back for Republicans who continue to kill Americans and destroy our environment because of their greed and ignorance.

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

      There are more vehicles on the roads than registered Republicans. Your point is, well let's not kid ourselves there isn't one.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tim in KC

    The Lakeview Gusher on the Midway-Sunset Oil Field in Kern County, California of 1910 is believed to be the largest-ever U.S. gusher. At its peak, more than 100,000 barrels (16 000 m³) of oil per day flowed out, reaching as high as 200 feet (60 m) in the air. It remained uncapped for 18 months, spilling over nine million barrels (378 million gallons/1.4 million m³) of oil, less than half of which was recovered. Stuff happens folks and if you have never worked in the oil fields – give it a try! This well will be capped like all of the others in the world that blew out...

    June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ronda601

    Can we appeal? This is outrageous. The Gulf is full of oil. The industry calls the shots and its a crying shame that anyone is in favor of continuing to drill.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tshane

    @Jake..."drive up oil prices??" Tell me again who Obama's largest donar was...oh yeah... BP

    June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AMERICAN PATRIOT

    NEWS FLASH

    Over 50% of all Federal Judges in New Orleans are FINANCIALLY tied to BP through payments they get or stock they own.

    This Judge obviously needs investigated to see what Financial ties he has to BP.

    MORE CORRUPTION.

    STOP THE DRILLING AND GET THE F___ OUT OF OUR OCEANS FOREVER.

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

      You don't know the meaning of American or Patriot!!! Loser!

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

    Any bets the judge belongs to the GOP?

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

    I hate the spill ,but I'm glad to hear that our republic is still intact. The executive branch of our republic is out of control (yes both parties). The "president" position was never indended to have this much power.

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

    ...and if he HADN'T tried for the moratorium, they would have blasted him, too. He's in a no-win situation. By the way, if you're looking to blame anyone for this disaster, look in the mirror. It's my fault and it's your fault. If we were not addicted to this oil, none of this would have happened. Sure, BP should have run a safer operation. The government (for DECADES) should have kept better tabs on them. But BP is only in business because we need them to be, and they run Washington because we allow it.

    The moratorium had to happen. Why on Earth would he stop drilling unless he thought there was a real danger? Does anyone really think that he WANTS the economy to go even further down the toilet? Do you think a first-term president would sacrifice money AND votes like this unless it was neccessary?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      If "HE" thought there was a real danger, why did he wait 2 months to meet with the CEO of BP?

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

      Why would he stop drilling? Seriously?? Because he needs a platform to push his energy plan. If there is no drilling being done then he has more attention on what he hopes to get passed. He doesn't care about the economy is LA b/c he doesn't have a prayer of winning that state. And the more people he can get addicted to the "government crack," the more people will vote for him.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOD 369

      Yeah you are right. And the moratorium is only for deep oil drilling, not shallow wells. Shallow wells are safer, BUT NO, they have to do it in the deep without any concern for safety.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. EmSeeDubayou

    Why are some of you calling the judge an idiot? I would assume that his ruling is based on law and precedent whicih is as it should be. If the Obama administration appeals, it will go to the next level and if it does not stand up there, the other side will be calling the judge an idiot.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill baby drill

      The rule of law means nothing to this administration. You have to look no further than the illegal immigration issue.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    Common sense prevails...

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