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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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RE: actually..
By Solandri on 6/23/2010 11:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, if there are a spate of accidents in a short period of time involving one type of aircraft, they have grounded the fleet of those aircraft for a few days while they do a general investigation to see if there's some commonality.

But what we have here is a single incident. It remains to be seen if it's an outlier (bad luck can strike even those who are assiduous about safety), or indicative of a broader problem affecting the entire industry.* Also, grounding some aircraft for a few days is quite different from shuttering an entire industry for a quarter of a year.

*Given the widescale corruption in the MMA that's been reported, I think the government could argue that they have no clue if the oil companies are complying with regulations, and thus all operations need to be shut down until new inspectors can be trained and new inspections done. The proper course of action in that case would be a 90 day moratorium; but because the fault lies with the government, all affected companies should be financially compensated for the loss of business. In other words, the government needs to pay all those oil companies for lost productivity during those 90 days they're shut down. Not gonna fly with the current deficits and upcoming elections.

RE: actually..
By knutjb on 6/23/2010 2:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
The economic pressure from rigs sitting idle at a million plus a day make a seemingly innocuous government drilling ban an extremely serious issue. Does the Government's mismanagement really justify shutting down an entire industry over one, albeit very serious, problem? Blanket punishment for all for BP's negligence smells fishy.

The government and its green intentions could be using this ban to cripple that entire business in the US. Obama IS pushing Cap & Tax (he was directly involved with creating the CCX-Chicago Carbon Exchange), Green initiatives, writing an executive order to grant amnesty for all illegals, cramming Health Care down our throats, Stimulus that would "fix" our unemployment problems, etc...

Is it unreasonable to question the dear leader's intent? I know he "says" he wants Nuke but until a plant is online I don't trust him. Too many politicians say one thing and do another and he is deeply entrenched in that methodology.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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