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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."

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.

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: 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...


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer











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