Gulf oil spill: Judge slams Obama's drilling moratorium, blocks it
The judge said the federal report that led to the drilling moratorium didn't 'explicitly justify' a ban. Some independent engineers who reviewed the report agree. The administration will appeal.
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Governor Jindal’s clout will likely matter less in the US Circuit Court of Appeals, says Mr. Frank, who is a former attorney with the US Department of Energy specializing in coastal and ocean issues. Courts “generally give the executive branch of government a fair amount of deference when responding to emergency events” and that it is likely that the next judge will give the administration “ a more favorable response.”Skip to next paragraph
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“I wouldn’t think the Obama administration would have to work too hard to justify the need for this type of moratorium it imposed here based on the record,” Frank says.
Questions about the report
At the heart of Judge Feldman’s ruling is the legitimacy of the Interior Department report. Upon its release, the report announced that “draft recommendations were reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering,” a non-profit institution that often acts in an advisory role to federal and state governments.
But a spokesman with the National Academy of Engineering (NEA) says the organization played “no formal role” in the report but only “informally suggested” individuals to the Interior Department for use in their report. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar met with the engineering panel Monday to hear their concerns and agreed to meet with them again in two weeks, said Interior spokesperson Kendra Barkoff.
In the meantime the Interior Department released a statement that said: “We didn’t mean to imply that [the members of the NAE] also agreed with the moratorium on deep-water drilling. We acknowledge that they were not asked to review or comment on the proposed moratorium and that they peer-reviewed the report on a technical basis.”
While engineers like Mr. Johnson are most concerned by BP management cost-cutting measures, which many in the engineering community say are responsible for the disaster, they do support a rigorous review of all the blowout preventers in the Gulf.
It has not yet been determined why or how the one below the Deepwater Horizon failed, Johnson says.
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