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Gulf oil spill: Judge slams Obama's drilling moratorium, blocks it

The judge said the federal report that led to the drilling moratorium didn't 'explicitly justify' a ban. Some independent engineers who reviewed the report agree. The administration will appeal.

The Gunnison truss spar, located in the Gulf of Mexico, is one of the drilling operations affected by the Obama administration's deep-water drilling moratorium, which took effect in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

Kerr-McGee/AFP

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The US District Court in New Orleans blocked the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling Tuesday, adding to doubts about the federal report that recommended the ban.

The moratorium took effect May 27 after an Interior Department report called for a stoppage so that safety protocols could be reviewed and the cause of the Deepwater Horizon blowout and subsequent Gulf oil spill could be determined.

But in his ruling Monday, US District Court Judge Martin Feldman wrote that the report findings did not “explicitly justify the moratorium.” He added: “[the report] does not discuss any irreparable harm that would warrant a suspension of operations, it does not explain how long it would take to implement the recommended safety measures.”

IN PICTURES: The Gulf oil spill's impact on nature

This comes as a panel of independent engineering experts who reviewed the report claim that they did not give their blessings to the moratorium. Instead, that recommendation was added after their final review, they say.

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