Are new Administration limits on offshore drilling

a sensible precaution?
a knee-jerk overreaction?

June 22, 2010

Judge throws out deepwater drilling moratorium

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman today issued a preliminary injunction immediately prohibiting the administration from enforcing its moratorium on offshore drilling.

You can read his reasoning HERE. It is particularly withering in its dissection of the mistatement by the Secretary of the Interior that the blanket moratorium had the support of eight experts, who later protested that their opinions had been misrepresented.

The Administration has said it will appeal. Meantime, here's Judge Feldman's ruling.

This Court having considered the Motion for Preliminary Injunction of Hornbeck Offshore Services, L.L.C., Bee Mar-Worker Bee LLC, North American Fabricators, L.L.C., Bee Mar LLC, Offshore Support Services, L.L.C., Martin Holdings, LLC, Bollinger Algiers, L.L.C., Sea Fluids, L.L.C., Bollinger Marine Fabricators, Inc., CPort 2 LLC, Bee Mar-Bayou Bee LLC, Bollinger Amelia Repair, LLC, CPort LLC, Fourchon Heavy Lift, L.L.C., C-Innovation, Bee Mar-Bee Hive LLC, Bee Mar-Queen Bee LLC, Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., Clean Tank, LLC, Bee-Mar-Honey Bee LLC, Tampa Ship, L.L.C., Bee Mar-Busy Bee LLC, Bee Mar Crews LLC, Bee Mar-Bumble Bee LLC, Bollinger Texas City, LP, Bollinger Calcasieu, LLC, Bollinger Shipyards Lockport, L.L.C., Bollinger Quick Repair, L.L.C., Bollinger Morgan City, L.L.C., Bollinger Gretna, L.L.C., Bee Mar-Bee Sting LLC, North American Shipbuilding, L.L.C., Bollinger Fourchon, L.L.C., Gulf Ship, L.L.C., Alpha Marine Services, L.L.C., Nautical Solutions LLC, Nautical Ventures, L.L.C., Reel Pipe LLC, as well as the verified Supplemental and Amended Complaint for Declaratory and injunctive Relief, Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction and after receiving evidence at a hearing on June 21, 2010, hereby finds: (1) that plaintiffs are substantially likely to prevail on the merits of their claim for the government defendants' violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and its implementing regulations; (2) that, in the absence of the relief requested, plaintiffs will incur immediate and irreparable harm to business including the irretrievable loss of vessels' useful life, loss of crews that have long been associated with their particular vessels, loss of shore-side teams and disruption of longstanding contractual relationships with offshore service vendors and other satellite services for the operation of its fleet, all of which is not subject to calculation; (3) that the irreparable harm to plaintiffs should the Court decline to grant the application for the relief requested outweighs the harm which the granting of such relief may cause to any legitimate interests of defendants; and (4) that the entry of this Order will serve the interests of justice and the public interest. Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED that Honorable Kenneth Lee "Ken" Salazar, in his official capacity as Secretary, United States Department of the Interior; United States Department of the Interior; Honorable Robert "Bob" Abbey, in his official capacity as Acting Director, Minerals Management Service; and the Minerals Management Service, their servants, agents, successor agencies, and employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with them, who receive actual Notice of this Preliminary Injunction (collectively "defendants"), and until a full trial on the merits is had, are hereby immediately prohibited from enforcing the Moratorium, entitled "Suspension of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Drilling of New Deepwater Wells," dated May 28, 2010, and NTL No. 2010-N04 seeking implementation of the Moratorium, as applied to all drilling on the OCS in water at depths greater than 500 feet;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants shall file with this Court and serve on plaintiffs within 21 days from the date of entry of this Preliminary Injunction a report in writing setting forth in detail the manner and form in which defendants have complied with the terms of this Preliminary Injunction.

New Orleans, Louisiana, June 22, 2010.



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