In a 22-page ruling, Judge Martin L. C. Feldman of Federal District Court issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a May 28 order halting all floating offshore drilling projects in more than 500 feet of water and preventing the government from issuing new permits for such projects.To which the administration responded,
Citing the economic harm to businesses and workers in the gulf caused by the moratorium, Judge Feldman — a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan — wrote that the Obama administration had failed to justify the need for the sweeping suspension, which he characterized as “generic, indeed punitive.”
Mr. Gibbs said the president “strongly believes that continuing to drill at those depths without knowing what’s happened” in the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and left a well gushing out of control, “makes no sense” and puts people’s lives at risk.I think that's about right: we don't know exactly what happened, and in fact we may never be able to determine the precise circumstances and chain of events that led to the blowout. But we can probably get a better understanding than we have now, and it's already clear that a lack of oversight on the part of MMS was a contributing factor. We cannot hope for a set of regulations that can guarantee accident-free oil drilling. However, it seems to me that there are a few that wouldn't be too economically restrictive, but would lead to a safer drilling environment. The purpose of the moratorium is not to be "punitive," but to allow our leaders to carefully examine the situation and figure out how to proceed from here.
The status quo has been tested and found lacking. Apparently, Feldman has a hard time seeing that. I wonder what could be impairing his vision? Hmmm... that's a toughie. Think Progress offers a suggestion:
Like many judges presiding in the Gulf region, Feldman owns lots of energy stocks, including Transocean, Halliburton, and two of BP’s largest U.S. private shareholders — BlackRock (7.1%) and JP Morgan Chase (28.3%). Here’s a list of Feldman’s income in 2008 (amounts listed unless under $1,000):Shorter version: Federal Judge blocks Obama moratorium; cites danger of economic impact to his bank account.
BlackRock ($12000- $36000)
Ocean Energy ($1000 – $2500)
NGP Capital Resources ($1000 – $2500)
Quicksilver Resources ($5000 – $15000)
Hercules Offshore ($6000 – $17500)
Atlas Energy Resources
EV Energy Partners
El Paso Corp
ATP Oil & Gas