A Federal appeals court in New Orleans has rejected the Obama administration’s most recent attempt to reinstate a six-month moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
After only two hours of deliberation, the three-judge panel held up the United States District Court’s June 22 ruling that the Federal government had no right to issue the moratorium, which suspended deepwater drilling on 33 exploratory wells off the Louisiana coastline.
Judge Jerry Smith said the burden was on the government to prove that the current practice of deepwater drilling is inherently dangerous, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
"You haven’t looked at the individual cases at all," he told the Federal government’s attorney Michael Gray, noting that 27 of the 29 offshore rigs passed inspection immediately following the BP oil spill. "The secretary [of the interior] just issued a blanket moratorium."
However, most industry experts agree that the rejection of the ban will do little to repair the economic damage caused by the temporary moratorium.
Due to the fact that the Obama administration is requesting a full appeals court hearing on August 30, it is unclear whether oil companies will bother reinstalling their equipment until the issue is put to rest.
After the ruling, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal blasted the administration’s continued efforts to impose the ban on offshore drilling, which could account for as many as 20,000 layoffs statewide.
"The Federal government not being able to do its job is not a reason for thousands of Louisianans to lose theirs," he said.