Part of the Bay Area News Group

Judge lifts Gulf drilling moratorium, gives green light to risky drilling

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 at 7:16 am in Oil, Oil Spills.

Oiled bird. AP Photo by Charlie Riedel.
oiled bird AP photo, Charlie Riedel

I thought you might be interested in this story (below) that the Gulf drilling moratorium has been ordered lifted by a federal judge.
Miyoko, The Center for Biological Diversity

Judge Feldman’s ruling is flirting with disaster and should be appealed by the federal government. Many thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for jumping into this. The judge has obviously not thought this out. There should be no more deepwater drilling for oil until they figure out how to deal with any future spills. To do so is stupid. They can’t even deal with the present mess. /Gary

Gulf of Mexico oil spill (NASA Goddard satellite photo)
NASA Godddard photo May 9, 2010

Federal judge lifts Gulf drilling moratorium, giving green light to risky drilling

NEW ORLEANS— The Center for Biological Diversity and several other environmental groups plan to appeal a judge’s decision today (June 22) that lifts the federal government’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. The decision, by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, reverses the government’s moratorium put in place after finding that “offshore drilling of new deepwater wells poses an unacceptable threat of serious and irreparable harm to wildlife and the marine, coastal, and human environment . . . [and] that the installation of additional safety or environmental protection equipment is necessary to prevent injury or loss of life and damage to property and the environment.”

To date, all safety measures and further analyses to better protect against the risk of future oil spills and harm to workers have yet to be completed.

“The judge’s decision to lift the moratorium trades oil-industry profits for the safety of offshore workers, the longterm health of the Gulf coast economy, and the environment,” said Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that intervened in the case to defend the federal government’s moratorium.

In response to a lawsuit filed by Hornbeck Offshore Services, a company that provides services to oil rigs, Judge Feldman’s decision found that the government had failed to provide enough specific findings on the risks of deepwater drilling to justify a blanket moratorium.

Gulf oil spill slick. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
gulf-oil-spill-slick-2010, US Coast Guard

However, contrary to Hornbeck’s claims and the judge’s order, the moratorium was actually very narrowly tailored to fix regulatory problems identified by the government that lead to the BP oil spill. In fact, the moratorium only affected 33 deepwater drilling rigs, leaving the production of approximately 3,600 drilling rigs unaffected.

“The ongoing BP catastrophe in the Gulf should be enough to justify putting an end to all new offshore drilling,” added Sakashita.“It is obvious that the entire system is broken, and Big Oil lied about the risks of oil spills and its ability to respond to them.”

Compelled by the fallout from the BP oil spill, the federal government was forced to acknowledge its failure to adequately regulate worker and environmental safety of drilling and instituted the moratorium that was lifted by a Louisiana judge today.

The court’s decision to lift the moratorium on drilling before implementing necessary changes invites the possibility of another disaster.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

2 Responses to “Judge lifts Gulf drilling moratorium, gives green light to risky drilling”

  1. Connie Acton Says:

    The judge made the right decision. It is obvious that the other deep water platforms are not in trouble and probably never will be. Blanket decisions are not required and the resulting unemployment is not worth it.

  2. Pete Says:

    while it’s true that problems that occurred on this one rig are not necessarily indicative of a problem with all rigs in the gulf, it should be noted that U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman is a shareholder in Transocean Ltd., which owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that blew up. ( he has a personal financial stake in this matter – is it any wonder that he lifted the ban?

Leave a Reply