Gulf Govs Hail Judge's Ruling on Drilling Moratorium
By David Harrison, Staff Writer
In May, as the catastrophic BP oil spill spiraled out of control, the administration called a halt to deepwater projects and suspended drilling in 33 exploratory wells, the Associated Press reported. Mississippi governor Haley Barbour and his Louisiana counterpart, Bobby Jindal, both Republicans, complained that the moratorium would cost their states jobs.
On Tuesday, Barbour hailed the ruling. "Hopefully, the judge's ruling will go into effect quickly and be upheld on upheal," he said. "The moratorium is bad policy."
On his Facebook page, Jindal called the ruling "welcome news to Louisianans whose jobs were threatened by the 'arbitrary and capricious' moratorium."
Thousands of miles away, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell also approved of the judge's decision, calling it "good for the nation," according to the Associated Press . Shell Oil is scheduled to start exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, off the Alaskan coast.
"If some drilling parts are flawed, is it rational to say they all are?" U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman asked in his ruling. "Are all airplanes in danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed and rather overbearing."
Disclosure reports from 2008 showed that Feldman, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, had holdings in petroleum companies, including Transocean, the company that owned the rig that exploded, sparking the disaster. Most of his holdings were valued at less than $15,000, according to the reports.
Two oil companies, Shell and Marathon, have indicated they would wait until the appeals process is over before resuming drilling. Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he would impose a new moratorium in the next few days clearly spelling out why it is necessary.