The Obama Administration will seek to reinstate a moratorium on deep water drilling blocked Tuesday by a U.S. District Court judge in an opinion that revealed a shocking lack of substance in the Department of Interior’s arguments for the moratorium. As Judge Martin L.C. Feldman wrote (ruling is here):
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.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar responded in a statement, saying: “The decision to impose a moratorium on deepwater drilling was and is the right decision. The moratorium is needed to protect the communities and the environment of the Gulf Coast, and DOJ is therefore appealing today’s court ruling.”
This time Interior will presumably attempt to supply more factual basis for its far-reaching moratorium. The issue will certainly arise this morning when Secretary Salazar testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on reorganizing the Minerals Management Service.
We’ll be very interested in whether the Administration acknowledges the economic damage the moratorium does to the Gulf Coast economy, which has already — obviously — been terribly harmed by the oil spill. As this Reuters report notes, perhaps 50,000 jobs are threatened by the moratorium. Why exacerbate the damage?
The White House last week kicked off its “Recovery Summer,” a series of public events to showcase the Administration’s leadership in helping to revive the ec0nomy and create jobs. The White House blog declared, “Let the Summer of Recovery begin!”
Tough to reconcile the messages here: As we wreck 50,000 jobs, let the Summer of Recovery begin!