Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, a Federal district judge in New Orleans, has overturned an Obama six month ban on deep water oil drilling. Judge Feldman stated that the Interior Department lied about the findings of a panel of experts on oil drilling.
According to the Washington Times:
“Judge Martin L.C. Feldman issued an injunction, saying that the moratorium will hurt drilling-rig operators and suppliers and that the government has not proved an outright ban is needed, rather than a more limited moratorium.
“He also said the Interior Department also misstated the opinion of the experts it consulted. Those experts from the National Academy of Engineering have said they don’t support the blanket ban.”
The Obama administration has declared that it will appeal the decision, but legal experts believe that since the majority of the members of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals are Republican appointees, chances of having Judge Feldman’s decision reversed are remote.
The Obama attempt to ban deep water oil drilling in the wake of the BP oil disaster has been criticized by many as being capricious and, in its way, as damaging to the economies of the Gulf Coast states as the BP oil leak. Thousands of oil workers would be thrown out of their jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars would be gone in lost wages.
The deep water oil ban seemed to be an overreaction to the BP oil leak disaster, akin to banning all air travel if a single airliner had crashed.
But the suspicion has arisen that the real reason for the deep water oil drilling ban stems from an old maxim once stated by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
The Obama administration has never concealed its disdain for carbon based energy sources, primarily oil and coal. The theory is that the Obama White House was willing to use the BP oil leak disaster as an excuse to choke off oil production from deep water oil rigs. The studies and safety inspections could be made to last far longer than six months, by which time many of the oil rigs would be redeployed to other parts of the world where drilling was more welcome.
Naturally such a reason could not be articulated openly. But Judge Feldman noted that the stated reasons for the deep water oil drilling ban were either sloppily or falsely formulated. He had no choice but to overturn the ban.
And thus the Obama administration has gotten a sharp lesson in the limits of executive power in a constitutional republic.
Source: Judge halts Obama’s oil-drilling ban, Stephan Dinan, Washington Times, June 22nd, 2010