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NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge Tuesday ruled against the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill. The White House, which had hoped the ban would provide time to ensure other wells are operating safely, immediately said it would appeal.
The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by drilling companies to reverse the ban imposed by the Department of Interior, which halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling at 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.
A federal judge in Louisiana granted the drillers' request for a preliminary restraining order that would prevent the ban from taking effect until a trial is held. He did not set a trial date.
District Judge Martin Feldman said the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning and that the moratorium seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.