U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman took on the United States Interior Department once again by ordering it to act quickly on five pending permits.
The ruling came the same day as oil containment test has proven successful.
Feldman told the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement to act within 30 days. The agency rules on permit applications in the Gulf of Mexico.
In June of 1910, Feldman overruled the Department’s deepwater drilling moratorium imposed by Interior after the BP oil spill.
The ruling came just two weeks after the same judge held the Interior Department in contempt of court for holding up deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf.
“It’s déjà vu all over again: A federal judge has ordered the Obama administration to follow the rule of law, do its job and start acting on applications for drilling permits in the Gulf,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA).
“For nearly a year, the Obama administration has not approved a single deepwater drilling permit in the Gulf,” Adams said. “This de facto moratorium on oil exploration is unreasonable, unwarranted, unfair and unlawful. It’s a self-inflicted energy crisis for America—killing jobs, raising gas prices, and making us more dependent on foreign oil.”
Also, on Thursday, one of the major obstacles preventing drilling might soon be cleared. The Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC) successfully completed the readiness of an initial well containment response system with the capability for rapid response in the event of a future underwater well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico’s deepwaters.
United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman’s order that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) must act within 30 days on five pending applications for oil and gas drilling permits:
Sen. Landrieu said, “Once again, BOEMRE’s delay tactics to avoid issuing new drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico have drawn federal court intervention. Just two weeks ago, Judge Feldman found Secretary Salazar in contempt for his failure to comply with an earlier order to lift the moratorium on permits. Now, Judge Feldman is giving BOEMRE a deadline to do its job.
“It’s been more than four months since BOEMRE declared the moratorium over, and yet not a single new deepwater drilling permit has been issued. Since the oil spill, only 31 shallow water permits and a single exploratory permit have been issued.”
Sen. Landrieu asked, “What’s the matter with this agency? Do they think they are above the law? Their foot-dragging is squeezing Louisiana’s economy. Rigs are leaving the Gulf for other parts of the world, taking thousands of jobs with them. Just last week, one company, Seahawk Drilling, filed for bankruptcy because it can’t get a drilling permit. It’s high time that BOEMRE complied with federal court orders and help Louisiana’s oil and gas industry get back on its feet.”