A federal judge Tuesday overturned the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on new deepwater oil and gas drilling, delivering a temporary victory to the oil industry and a rebuke to the White House.The temporary injunction by U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman appears unlikely to bring a swift resumption of deepwater drilling: Oil companies say they’re reluctant to start new ventures as an uncertain appeals process unfolds.
Ratcheting up the legal battle, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced late Tuesday he would issue an order in the coming days to effectively reinstate the moratorium, which he said is “needed to protect the communities and the environment of the Gulf Coast.”
In addition, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration would appeal the decision by Judge Feldman. The case’s next destination is the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which is expected to put the case on a fast track.