The White House is up in arms again, this time over a federal judge in disagreement with the President. The New York Times has reported that a federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a moratorium put in place by the President. This moratorium was to stop exploratory off-shore drilling in more than 500 feet of water.
The Times goes on to state that this judge’s decision comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by “a coalition of businesses that provide services and equipment to offshore drilling platforms.” This lawsuit was also supported by the state of Louisiana, with the argument being that “irrevocable harm” could come to the economy with the block in place.
The President is, of course, intending to appeal this judge’s decision, arguing that the unknown should carry more weight than the known. The judge, on the other hand, basically counters that what is known is that there is nothing concrete to show that one accident from an unknown cause means that all drilling is unsafe.
The Washington Post quotes the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman, as saying that the moratorium “does not seem to be fact-specific and refuses to take into measure the safety records of those others in the Gulf.”
The President may not be gaining any ground with this argument, and it will likely cause more contention in Washington, as well as elsewhere. The Louisiana economy clearly needs drilling to continue, or this issue would not have come up. Although the President seems to need control over it again this time, as with other situations, his strong-arming might not be getting him anywhere, as far as Washington in concerned.
It also seems clear that the locals feel they could use some support, and not more failing of their economic status during the time when they need to recapture it.
Though some do support the moratorium, many others are heavily in agreement with what this judge is saying. It seems that the rift over the Gulf oil spill will only get bigger, with the President appealing the District Judge’s decision, and that only more heated contentions will come out of it. Drying up the local economy of Louisiana when it is in dire need isn’t going to win any points, and many are dead-set against the President merely getting his way one more time.
Charlie Savage, “Drilling Ban Blocked; U.S. Will Issue New Order”, The New York Times
Steven Mufson, “Judge blocks Obama moratorium on deep-water drilling”, The Washington Post