A federal judge’s decision to knock down the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling is just the beginning of the argument — one that might land in the U.S. Supreme Court’s lap before long. District Judge Martin Feldman, a Reagan appointee, said the administration’s decision to halt all drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet after the BP spill was unreasonably broad and damaging to thousands of Americans who depend on the oil and gas industry for their livelihoods. “The 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 wrote in his decision.
Interestingly, the administration also cites uncertainty surrounding the cause of the BP spill and the potential threat to thousands of Americans (presumably different thousands than the ones cited by Feldman) to argue drilling should remain halted. The White House said it would appeal Feldman’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit and then who knows, maybe the high court will be asked to decide whose interests are the most compelling and most in need of protecting.