Washington, DC – Following Judge Martin Feldman’s decision to overturn the Obama Administration’s deepwater drilling ban, Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research issued this statement:

“This moratorium, wisely overturned, was never about safety – it was about politics, and politics at its worst. And while the Obama Administration has chosen, once again, to be directed by anti-energy special interests and appeal this decision, today’s ruling is at least a step in the right direction.

“The Administration’s decision to appeal this order means that today’s ruling will amount to little more than a morale boost to the hardworking men and women along the Gulf Coast who received pink slips as a result of this politically motivated drilling moratorium.”

Following are selected excerpts of Judge Feldman’s opinion:

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. (pg. 19)

Nonetheless, the Secretary’s determination that a six-month moratorium on issuance of new permits and on drilling by the thirty-three rigs is necessary does not seem to be fact-specific and refuses to take into measure the safety records of those others in the Gulf. There is no evidence presented indicating that the Secretary balanced the concern for environmental safety with the policy of making leases available for development. There is no suggestion that the Secretary considered any alternatives… (pgs. 19-20)

An invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in depths of over 500 feet simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country. (pg. 22)

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