In a major blow to Whitehouse, a federal judge ruled against a six month freeze imposed on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by the Obama administration.
Judge Martin L.C. Feldman issued a federal injunction after learning that the Interior Department has misled the public and hence ruling in favour of thirty two oil firms that challenged the moratorium on deepwater drilling and exploration. Obama administration had imposed the moratorium in the wake of massive Gulf oil spill.
The region which is already dealing with British Petroleum’s oil rig disaster with business and tourism greatly affected, took a sigh of relief. Judge Martin Feldman described the moratorium as “invalid”. The moratorium would have compounded the regions hardship and would affect employment and energy supplies. The ban would have crippled many industries depending heavily on deep water drilling industry. Judge Martin Feldman commented that the administrations action would have resulted in American citizen paying more for oil and gas. The impact of the ban would be greater with more industries forced to restore to employee lay offs. Feldman also said the president’s decision to issue the moratorium “does not seem to be fact-specific and refuses to take into measure the safety records of those others in the Gulf.”
The oil companies have already stated that keeping those oil rigs idle for six months is not an economic viable option and if the ban is imposed they would have no other option but to sell off the rigs to other nations.
Hornbeck Offshore Services alleged that the ban was "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion" and was inconsistent with the regulations governing the oil industry. Instead of taking actions to stop the oil spill, the Obama administration has punished the entire industry.
Government lawyer Guillermo Montero replied that deepwater drilling was more complicated than many other industries and the government had to review and, if necessary, update its safety protocols. "The Deepwater Horizon incident was a game-changer. It really showed the risks inherent in deepwater drilling," he said.
The Obama administration has already said that they will appeal to the fifth circuit