Judge Tells Government to Resume Permits for Drilling
WASHINGTON — A federal judge in New Orleans on Thursday ordered the Obama administration to move quickly on permits for new deepwater
wells in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that the government could no longer justify long delays in allowing new projects to go forward. …
“Not acting at all is not a lawful option,” Judge Feldman wrote, adding that the delays are “increasingly inexcusable” and were causing drilling companies to relocate their rigs to foreign waters.
Not only that, Judge Feldman has ordered the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to act on five pending permits within 30 days, and to report on its progress to the court. Those permits have been pending for as much as 10 months.
Something tells me Judge Feldman is not amused.
The industry trade group which represents the offshore supply boat industry issued the following statement:
“It’s déjà vu all over again: A federal judge has ordered the Obama administration to follow the rule of law, do its job and start acting on applications for drilling permits in the Gulf,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA).
“For nearly a year, the Obama administration has not approved a single deepwater drilling permit in the Gulf,” Adams said. “This de facto moratorium on oil exploration is unreasonable, unwarranted, unfair and unlawful. It’s a self-inflicted energy crisis for America—killing jobs, raising gas prices, and making us more dependent on foreign oil.”
Just two weeks ago, Judge Feldman found the Interior Department to be in contempt over its flouting of his rulings relative to the Deepwater Drilling Moratorium.
“Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this Court with clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt of this Court’s preliminary injunction order,” Feldman wrote in his eight-page order.
Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.