Are you tired of hearing about the botched handling of the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf Coast? How about the related lawsuit, pitting the Obama administration and environmental groups against the oil industry and its workers, in which a federal judge enjoined the government’s moratorium on offshore drilling operations? Well, unfortunately, this bungled affair will be front page news for a while. But we, here, suggest a different take on things.
Some blame the courts for risking additional devastation and potentially exacerbating a stymied cleanup by refusing to reinstate the six-month moratorium on all offshore drilling operations of deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific regions. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision that the government had not sufficiently justified the need for the moratorium. In a technical decision denying the government’s motion for a stay pending appeal, the 5th Circuit reasoned that the government had failed to demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable injury because no showing had been made that drilling activities were about to recommence. See Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC, et al. v. Kenneth Lee Salazar, et al., No. 10-30585 (5th Cir. Jul. 8, 2010).
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