From the AP:
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium….
Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
In effect, Feldman has ruled that Obama lacked the legal authority to issue the moratorium based on the evidence he had before him. He may very well be right, and if so, that’s how the check-and-balance system works. Unless it decides to appeal, the administration will now have to find another way of ensuring that deep-water rigs are operating safely.