Federal Judge Lifts Ban on Deepwater Exploratory Drilling

New Orleans, La. – A federal judge in New Orleans says the Interior Department wrongly assumed that because the BP deepwater well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, all others posed an imminent danger. There are 33 deepwater wells in the Gulf affected by the moratorium that also halted approval of any new permits. Seventy-two platforms are still producing oil in the Gulf in depths of 500 feet or more. Companies that supply the offshore rigs argued the moratorium was arbitrary. The judge agreed, saying the effects on the Gulf economy and the national energy supply can't justify the six-month ban. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and business leaders say the moratorium would have forced companies to take their rig business to foreign waters.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.