Judge blocks Gulf offshore drilling moratorium

Workers on the Development Driller II drill a relief well at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on June 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. The BP oil spill has been called one of the largest environmental disasters in American history.
Workers on the Development Driller II drill a relief well at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on June 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. The BP oil spill has been called one of the largest environmental disasters in American history. Charlie Neibergall/Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.

The White House says President Barack Obama's administration will appeal.

Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium.

The administration halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling at 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.

Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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