Breaking: Court Rejects Bid To Restore Drilling Moratorium

Alternate headline: Jobs Were Saved

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected the federal government’s effort to restore an offshore deepwater drilling moratorium, opening the door to resumed drilling in the Gulf while the legal fight continues.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled soon after an afternoon hearing in a lawsuit filed by companies that oppose the drilling ban. The moratorium was struck down June 22 by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman.

The Interior Department argued the moratorium was necessary while it studied deepwater drilling risks in the wake of the BP oil spill. Government lawyers asked the appeals court to let the temporary drilling ban stand until the 5th Circuit ruled on their appeal of the lower-court ruling.

Even Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu knew the damage the moratorium posed:

A Gulf of Mexico moratorium on deep-water drilling put in place after BP Plc’s oil spill may cause “almost unfathomable” damage to state and local government finances, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu said in a court filing.

I would not have made that arguement, but her heart is in the right place.