New Orleans, La. – The judge sided with the supply companies' argument that the Interior Department's six-month ban on new drilling was an arbitrary reaction to BP's disastrous well explosion. They said there's no reason to believe other wells pose an immediate threat.
Eric Smith of the Tulane Energy Institute says the industry's economic concerns won't be settled until the case is decided.
"Do the rigs leave or not? If they leave, they sign new multi-year contracts to work somewhere else, like Brazil or Angola."
Smith says stopping new deepwater drilling in the Gulf means more tankers, and their safety record isn't as good as drilling.
Meantime, the White House and environmental groups are promising to appeal the judge's ruling.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.