Oil Drilling Ban Challenged
Federal officials said they would move quickly to circumvent and appeal a U.S. District Judge’s injunction on June 22 to overturn President Obama’s six-month ban on new deepwater offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The President imposed the ban after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion. Under the ban, the Interior Department stopped issuing new drilling permits and halted drilling at 33 exploratory wells. Gulf oil and support industries, including offshore helicopter operators, say the ban has cost them untold millions and idled thousands of workers. New Orleans U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ruled that the ban was “an invalid agency decision” that the Interior Department “cannot justify.” Oil companies indicated that they would not restart drilling operations while the litigation continues.