Judge Blocks Drilling Moratorium as Ill-Founded, Capricious

U.S. District Court Judge Martin L.C. Feldman today blocked the Obama Administration’s moratorium on deep water drilling. His ruling is here. Excerpt:

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is an unprecedented, sad, ugly and inhuman disaster. What seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened on the Deepwater Horizon into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all Gulf deepwater drilling activities put us all in a universal threat of irreparable harm. While the implementation of regulations and a new culture of safety are supportable by the Report and the documents presented, the blanket moratorium, with no parameters, seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger.

On the record now before the Court, the defendants have failed to cogently reflect the decision to issue a blanket, generic, indeed punitive, moratorium with the facts developed during the thirty-day review. The plaintiffs have established a likelihood of successfully showing that the Administration acted arbitrarily and capriciously in issuing the moratorium.

On May 28, the National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement from NAM President John Engler raising concerns about the overbroad moratorium.

(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.)

UPDATE (4:40 p.m.): (Reuters) – A majority of Americans still support offshore drilling on the U.S. coastline despite the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): A statement from John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers:

Today’s decision by Judge Feldman is appropriate and important for manufacturers and the entire supply chain. The moratorium immediately shut down 33 deepwater rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and cost thousands of men and women their jobs. Estimates show that the six-month moratorium would result in lost wages ranging from $165 million to $330 million and cost tens of thousands of additional jobs.

Manufacturers throughout the country who make and supply equipment, services, engines, boats and materials such as steel and concrete also would suffer massive economic consequences as a result of the President’s overly broad moratorium.

Today’s ruling is vital to our future energy independence and a step in the right direction for the health of the economy.

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