Federal judge blocks moratorium

Many offshore workers are breathing a huge - possibly temporary - sigh of relief as a federal judge ruled on Tuesday against the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. The moratorium was a response to the BP oil spill. The White House immediately said it would appeal.

The ruling was granted in response to a driller’s request for a preliminary restraining order that would prevent the ban from taking effect until a trial is held. No trial date has yet to be set.

The Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning and that the moratorium seems to assume that because one rig failed, all deepwater rigs posed imminent danger, said District Judge Martin Feldman.

Offshore workers in the Acadiana area were quite happy with Feldman’s ruling.

“Having some time off is one thing but six months off means no money for rent or electricity,” said Greg Chism of Lafayette who works out of Port Fourchon. “I’m really glad the judge saw things our way.”

The Obama administration had hoped the ban would give companies some time to make sure that all the other deepwater rigs were operating safely. Most Louisianans, however, disagreed with the President’s decision saying that stopping offshore workers from drilling would be like pouring salt on the wound caused by the oil spill.

“I understand that the President thinks he was doing the right thing after the oil spill,” said Mike Thibeaux of Rayne. “However, he isn’t from here and I really don’t think he knows how much the oil industry means to Louisiana. I’m really thankful right now and I hope this judge’s ruling stands.”

Cliff Domingue was caught off guard when he heard the news.

“I was about to start collecting change from around my house,” he laughed.

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