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February 18, 2011

Judge to Obama Admin: End the Drilling Permatorium

This is the same judge who already found the Interior Department in contempt of court for its shenanigans with the summer's drilling moratoriums. Now he's ordering the Interior Department to start issuing permits (or permit denials) within a reasonable time instead of just sitting on permit applications:

“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.

The interior secretary, Ken Salazar, imposed a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the gulf immediately after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April, which killed 11 workers and spilled nearly five million barrels of oil into the ocean. Judge Feldman declared the drilling ban illegal in June, but Mr. Salazar modified it slightly, and it remained in place until the department lifted it in October.

However, despite the official end of the ban, Mr. Salazar and the agency’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement have not issued any deepwater permits.

The Interior Department has 30 days to make a decision on five permits.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:24 PM

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