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Judge has ties to oil industry and owns stock in major companies involved in the spill

The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is still on going with the leaking well pouring thousands and thousands of barrels of crude oil into the waters daily. So far, BP has been unable to stop the flow of crude from leaking into the waters.

The Obama administration had placed a six-month ban on deep-water drilling in the gulf until an investigation could be conducted to determine what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform that triggered the massive Gulf oil spill.

A federal judge lifted the ban placed on deep-water drilling in the Gulf yesterday. The judge who lifted with ban is U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman. Feldman issued a 22-page order that would allow oil companies to resume to drilling in the Gulf. However, the White House says that it will file an immediate appeal and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says that it will issue a new order imposing a moratorium on drilling that gives more detail on why the 6-month ban is needed.

Feldman said in his order that there was not enough justification in the drilling ban to justify the action taken by Obama and the White House. Feldman wrote, "A blanket moratorium, with no parameters seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger."

Feldman also wrote, "If some drilling-equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing."

Associated Press has noted that Feldman has ties to the oil industry and as recently as 2008, he owned stock in several oil companies. AP reports that Feldman listed in 2008 that he owned less than $15,000 in stock in Transocean Ltd. Transocean is the company that owns the Deepwater Horizon platform.

While some suggest that Feldman is biased because of his ties to the oil industry, at least one expert sees no signs of bias in the ruling. Tim Howards, a law professor at Northeastern University said, "There's been some concern that he is biased toward the industry, but I don't see it in this opinion. They [the White House] overreacted and just shut an industry down, rather than focusing on where the problems are."

However, Josh Reichert, managing director of Pew Environment Group said, "If Judge Feldman has any investments in oil and gas operators in the Gulf, it represents a flagrant conflict of interest."

Even though the ruling by Feldman would allow drilling to restart in the gulf, some major oil companies are holding off knowing an appeal is coming soon. Shell and Marathon are waiting to see what happens with the appeal before getting back to drilling.

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Doesn't this go both ways?
By Solandri on 6/23/2010 11:44:51 AM , Rating: 5
The Associated Press has noted that Feldman has ties to the oil industry and as recently as 2008, he owned stock in several oil companies. AP reports that Feldman listed in 2008 that he owned less than $15,000 in stock in Transocean Ltd. Transocean is the company that owns the Deepwater Horizon platform.

The AP report also said that he owned stock in other oil companies via mutual funds, which as most investors know are usually broad sector-based funds which are comprised of dozens if not hundreds of companies.

I was thinking about this. Start with the assumption that owning stock in an oil company represents a financial conflict of interest for a judge - he has something to lose/gain so he may be biased towards an oil company. Doesn't the opposite hold too? If you own lots of stock, but not in any oil companies, especially if he has mutual funds, doesn't that indicate pre-bias against oil companies? Say he's been investing in stocks for years, but he's conspicuously avoiding oil companies. Isn't that a clear sign that he's biased, and thus should be disqualified too?

In other words, if a judge invests in stocks and you want the greatest odds of getting a fair and impartial judge, you should be seeking one who invests in oil companies in proportion to their representation in the stock market. A judge with too much oil stock is bad. But a judge with too little oil stock is also bad.

RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By Scabies on 6/23/2010 12:19:42 PM , Rating: 1
its too bad we cant claim conflict of interests against the current administration in the selfish decisions they make.

RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By superstition on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By ebakke on 6/23/2010 12:53:56 PM , Rating: 4
Did you even read his post?

RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By superstition on 6/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By Samus on 6/24/2010 3:17:18 AM , Rating: 3
You spew liberal 'facts' like Fox news spews conservative 'facts'

Everybody is wrong. Meanwhile, nobody seems to be doing shit to stop the fucking leak. Worry about "who done it" when the time is right. There isn't going to be another rig explosion in the next 6 months.

RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By superstition on 6/25/2010 8:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? There is no such thing as a "liberal" or "conservative" fact.

Facts are facts.

RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By knutjb on 6/23/2010 1:59:38 PM , Rating: 5
But its OK that Obama received more money from BP employees than any other politician? Or maybe that the MMS was about to give that rig safety awards? Could the fact that Obama buddy George Soros has $600M+ investment in PetroBras and that the IMF, through the US, gave them, PetroBras a private company, $2B of mostly US money to drill in deep water off Brazil.

From legal commentators I have heard the vast majority said the Gov stepped too far with a vaguely written document. That was the reason for throwing it out. The Judge said that they had overstepped their legal bounds.

I just saw a clip where Ken Salazar said he did intend to shutdown all new wells starting at 500'. The Feds don't get much in the way of royalties if wells are drilled inside state's waters but do if they are past them.

So is the Judge biased or are those in the Fed Gov biased? Given the Judges response and reasoning I'll go with his answer. Obama did say he would appeal and that IS how the system is designed to work.

There is more than one side to a story...

RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By therealnickdanger on 6/23/2010 2:18:27 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly right. My mutual fund has oil stock and stock in firms that support oil companies. Does that mean that I "have ties" to "Big Oil"? LOL Je$us Tap-Dancing Chr!st.

Let's stay on the topic. This is just an attempt at smearing a perfectly good ruling. Obama can't handle being wrong and certainly can't handle being publically disputed. The judge made a good ruling - just because ONE well "went down in flames" does not warrant a ban on all off-shore activity.

Don't get side-tracked by this. If this judge has an agenda, so be it. We all know Obama and his cronies have one - except they publically admits to it: Cap'n'Trade.

RE: Doesn't this go both ways?
By The0ne on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
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