Judge Blocks Drilling Ban; White House Will Appeal

Affected companies oppose 6-month moratorium
By Marie Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2010 1:29 PM CDT
Judge Blocks Drilling Ban; White House Will Appeal
The Q4000 drilling rig operates in the Gulf of Mexico at the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster Wednesday, June 16, 2010.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

(Newser) – The Obama administration may not impose a 6-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled today. The White House immediately said it plans to appeal the decision, CNN reports. The Interior Department imposed the ban in the wake of the BP oil spill, and companies affected by the ban argued that the government hadn't proven rigs that are already operating are potentially dangerous. Today, the judge agreed.

"This is an environmental disaster," said a lawyer for the state of Louisiana, which opposes the federal moratorium. "Let's not make it an economic disaster." Said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs: "The president strongly believes that continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened does not make any sense." (Read more Obama administration stories.)

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