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. Sandra Hillman

    There should definitely be a moratorium on drilling until someone can come up with the right precautions should a situation like this arise again. I will not in my lifetime see the gulf waters clean. Also, we need to find alternative resources for energy which is really key to all of this. This is all about big business and lots of money.

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

      I agree. Well if another one happens we know who to blame.

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

      There should be a moritorium on any liberal using gasoline or electricity.
      Or maybe breathing.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    If this doesn't prove how badly we need to get off oil, I don't know what does.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lee Ann

    Well said, Jake!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chris m

    "but the government is no better especially with a facist, socialist, progressive in power. "

    Dear god, what a f ucking retard you are!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Will

    If we keep this madness up, Starkist's "tuna packed in oil" will take on a whole new meaning... Seriously folks, we have a bunch of people whose livelihoods depend on an energy source that is detrimental to the environment from all angles. We pollute the environment in producing the energy and then again when we use it. How stupid are we? How about telling the folks whose jobs who depend on Gulf Oil – tough luck. I'd much rather have Bubba and Goober out of work for a decade than to risk the health of the Gulf that will be (hopefully) around for thousands of years more than some self-serving and short-sighted civilization.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey

    This judge is an idiot. Considering his location, I think it's fair to assume that he has some interest in oil and or interest in companies that are named in the case. There is no way a rational person would think this disaster and environment mean less than the oil industry. It's great that he wants oil to make more money, but who is going to buy the oil if we starve to death because there is no sea life and the oil creeps into our rivers contaminating our fresh water there by contaminating our crops and live stock! It's time for big oil to fall and solar/wind to ramp up. the jobs lost from the oil industry can easily be regained with jobs in the solar/wind industry.

    It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. It's time that we change and move away from Oil...

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

      Oh great!
      That sounds just like it was from Hollywood.
      "Stop drilling on land. Stop drilling in the ocean. Don't import any foreign oil".
      Just let me drive my limo.

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

    Great.
    So the next time this happens, everyone can keep their mouths shut.
    Americans have this incredible lack of being able to learn from the past. Our history is basically a record of us doing the same things over and over and failing every time (specifically with wars).
    So the next time your small business shuts down or a bunch of dead birds and fish wash up on your shores, you know who exactly gets the blame.
    Another problem with this time was the blame game: Corrupt judges and big business were to blame for this.
    That is all. Enjoy your next shore disaster...likely coming to you before this current one is even cleaned up.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Don

    UNbelieveable. The gulf coast people whine and cry and want to hang BP's CEO and now they want the drilling to continue before anyone can check to see if it's safe to drill. I say let them clean up their own beaches because it's going to happen again!!!!

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

      You benefit from the energy produced here. Yes, we have the mess of providing it to meet public demand. Actually we don't need to produce any more than we use in each state that drills for oil and gas. We can clean up our messy beaches and coastline with the revenue derived from selling our surplus to states that are unable to, or unwilling to, provide for themselves. Imagine your pristine vacation place .... by walking there, without the benefit of any fossil fuel for transportation or the production of your clothing. Show us your conviction, start pedalling. We'll get word of your success by way of carrier pigeon with your words scrawled on papyrus. Just be realistic please.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris (DC)

    I am growing tired of residents of the region complaining. They want the government to help clean up the mess created by oil, but they want the government to stay out of their business. We MUST break our addiction to oil and now is the perfect time. Will people lose their jobs? Sure. Every time a country transitions out of an industry that happens. Do you think buggy makers or horse stable owners like that new fangled think called the automobile? Did we lose jobs? Yes, but the new field grew into jobs. Only a year ago most Americans wanted to throw the US auto industry in front of the train. Everyone said "if the industry can't survive it is time to move on". WELL, the US can't survive the oil industry so it is time to move on.

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

      Agree.Yes they want it both ways. Boy would I love another oil spill to happen on top of the one they have now, however the odds are against it happening again anytime soon.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. guest

    Going to be appealed so that could drag it out 6 months.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom

    Judge: The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.

    This was a verry irresponsable move. It the past few months it has become painfully clear that the oil companies have no idea what they are doing when it comes to a deep water oil leak. We already know that these companies will do anything to make a profit including cutting corners and we know that the inspectors have been sleeping with the oil companies litterally. What do you think will happen if another well explodes? We already know they wont be able to stop it from leaking for months. Then how many more fishermen will be out of work, what about the tourism industries in the affected areas? One leak is bad enough two would be fatal. Before these well begin pumping again they all need to fully inspected and have a working plan in the case of a leak. Probably isnt good enough.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gator

    With all the legal talent available the Administration still doesn't get it. Remember, after full and complete review prior to drilling, a federal agency issued the permit. Did the Agency issue it in error? Did the Administration let the Agency head retire, rather than discipline them? Do Mr. Obama's ears appear too big for his head?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doc Gordon

      does your last sentence reveal exactly what level of discourse you've chosen? yeah, probably. way to trivialize, and way to shine a light on the [downhill] path to mediocrity facing backward will always lead us on.

      sad.

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

      Doc Gordon you are just plain stupid. I'm gonna use simple words so that you can understand. Obama's ears are too big for his head and your mouth is too big for your face, so shut your pie hole and go hug a tree!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Boulder Liberal

    Dear Judge:

    I would suggest that you set aside 30 billion dollars of your personal reserves in an escrow account to be administered by a third party. If yet another oil rig malfunctions, you should be held personally liable.

    This moratorium is highly problematic and distressing to everyone. But it would seem that you, Your Honor, have not looked out your window, as it were.

    I trust President Obama's judgment much more than I trust your judgment–or BP's judgment.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bbrooker

    They STILL have no idea how to plug this leak and yet from the right we hear, "Screw it, it's safe, let's drill anyway!" I realize oil is unfortunately the lifeblood of our economy, but you don't get in a car if you're not sure if the brakes work! You don't build a nuclear reactor if you're not sure how to cool it. You SHOULDN'T DRILL IN PLACES YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO CAP!!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brian808

    Well....what do you expect from a "southern" judge? He's a republican. Opposed to "any" good thing from Obama.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      I agree. . For these people it's stop Obama at anything. Even if it means more men dying from another oil explosion. Sad

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