Thursday, February 3, 2011

Judge holds Interior Department in contempt

From Dan Berman of Politico on Feb. 2:
A federal judge in Louisiana held the Interior Department in contempt late Wednesday, citing the agency for “dismissive conduct” by blocking offshore oil drilling during last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana last summer blocked the Obama administration’s first attempt to place a moratorium on offshore drilling, only to have Interior come back with a second ban.

That didn’t go over well with Feldman, who Wednesday also ordered Interior to pay attorneys’ fees for oil companies challenging the drilling ban.

“Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this Court with clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt of this Court’s preliminary injunction order,” Feldman wrote in his eight-page order.


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