From The Washington Times:
A federal judge in New Orleans halted President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium on Tuesday, saying the government never justified the ban and appeared to mislead the public in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
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.
… Democrats and Republicans from the Gulf states have called on the president to end the blanket moratorium, saying it is hurting the region.
Oil company executives told Congress last week they would have to move their rigs to other countries because they lose up to $1 million a day per idle rig, and said there are opportunities elsewhere.
A request by the White House for a temporary, voluntary suspension of deep water drilling while oil companies thoroughly reviewed their standard operating and safety procedures would have made sense; any oil company would have gladly complied. At the same time, the White House could have also announced a “house cleaning” at the Minerals Management Service, with the goal of re-establishing the agency’s original regulatory compliance enforcement mission.
Instead, President Obama decided to overstep his authority once again. The White House simply does not have the authority to order a ban on the activities of private enterprise. Thankfully the Federal judges in Louisiana have read the Constitution.
More info (including the decision and related rulings) at the Eastern Louisiana District Court website.