BREAKING: JUDGE THROWS OUT OBAMORATORIUM

UPDATE #5: Now Gov. Jindal has a statement out…

“The ruling today to grant an immediate injunction on President Obama’s deepwater drilling moratorium is welcome news. We absolutely agree with the judge’s conclusion that the Administration’s six-month, or longer, shut down of deepwater drilling was ‘arbitrary and capricious.’ Not only does the moratorium threaten thousands of direct jobs in our state, it also jeopardizes many other industries that supply our oil and gas industry and the entire communities that depend on them. It is also deeply concerning that the President’s moratorium was enacted against the judgment of the Department of the Interior’s own expert advisors and scientists.

“The Administration just doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t just turn a switch on and off with these rigs. When they leave our coast to produce oil in other parts of the country or the world, the jobs that support them go with them. We absolutely do not want another spill or one more drop of oil on our coast or in our water, but thousands of Louisianians should not have to lose their jobs because the federal government can’t adequately do their job of ensuring drilling is done safely. The federal government has an entire agency dedicated to monitoring safe drilling. It shouldn’t take them six-months or longer to ensure safety measures are in place and their laws and regulations are being followed. Instead of an arbitrary moratorium, the Administration should listen to their own experts and enact the specific recommended steps from their own experts to ensure proper oversight and safe drilling.

“Even more frustrating, is the clear lack of urgency the federal government has in pursuing their own commission set up to study deepwater drilling. It is now reported that the Administration will not even hold to their initial six-month timeframe because they wont have this commission meet until mid-July and they don’t expect to have any kind of report until next year. Our state is at risk of losing more than 20,000 existing and potential new Louisiana jobs over 12 to 18 months if this federal panel takes longer than six months to write their reports. This is an unacceptable cost to our people of the federal government not being able to do their jobs quickly to ensure drilling is done safely.

“To everyone who took the time to sign the Gulf Economic Survival Team’s petition against the President’s six-month drilling moratorium on www.GEST.La.Gov, thank you for your support. We encourage more folks in Louisiana and around the country to join the more than 158,000 people who have already signed the petition to show the President that Louisianians should not have to lose their jobs because the federal government cannot do their job.”

UPDATE #4: The District 3 Congressional candidates are starting to weigh in on the decision. Statements just below the jump…

This from Republican Hunt Downer:

“This is welcome news to thousands of Louisiana families and businesses that have seen their very livelihoods put on hold by the President’s ‘job-killing’ moratorium. I hope the administration reconsiders its appeal and uses this injunction as a reason to review their ‘knee-jerk reaction’ and that they develop a real plan to move forward in Southeast Louisiana. We must continue to stop the oil from invading our coast and develop a pro-growth plan for our region’s recovery.”

From Democrat Ravi Sangisetty:

“I support Judge Feldman’s decision to put Louisiana communities and Louisiana families first,” Sangisetty said. “This moratorium could cost south Louisiana 20,000 jobs and would destroy our economy.”

Sangisetty said safety on drilling rigs is of utmost importance, and that safety can be ensured in fewer than six months.

“We don’t need to wait for a commission to study something we already know: drilling must be done safely,” he said. “It is irresponsible and a sign of a broken Washington to destroy an economy while career politicians put together a report.”

He added, “South Louisiana is ready to get back to work providing this country with the energy we produce.”

And from Republican Jeff Landry:

I commend Judge Feldman for his common sense decision in overturning the Moratorium. After weeks of being kicked by the Federal Government and the outrageous arrogance of the President, the people of South Louisiana needed a bit of good news. However, the fight is ongoing, and we must continue to pressure the President on this issue. The White House has continued their arrogant ways by immediately stating they would appeal the decision. I encourage the great people of South Louisiana to stay strong and continue the fight.

UPDATE #3: Obama’s press dork Robert Gibbs says they’ll appeal, with a bunch of verbiage we’re not going to waste your time with. That news was met by a stern rebuke from Louisiana GOP chair Roger Villere:

“Today’s ruling brings a sense of relief to thousands of Louisianians whose livelihoods are either directly or indirectly impacted by Obama’s drilling moratorium,” said Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Roger Villere. “Unfortunately, the decision seems to have already fallen on deaf ears at the White House. The Obama Administration’s pledge to appeal today’s decision simply reinforces the hypocrisy behind Obama’s pledge to ‘spare no effort’ in responding to this spill. Whether it’s the moratorium or job killing Cap & Tax legislation, Obama seems content on turning an environmental disaster into an economic nightmare.”

Meanwhile, Sen. David Vitter sounded a triumphant note. We got a kick out of this one:

“I have great respect for Judge Feldman, whom I know personally. I applaud his decision, which recognizes that the president’s powers are certainly not unlimited and that this moratorium is wreaking havoc on jobs in Louisiana.”

Vitter’s next release ought to mention that he knows a few judges on the 5th Circuit as well. “Hey Barry, welcome to MY sandbox!”

Rep. Bill Cassidy was a little more bookish:

“This decision realigns federal policy with the findings of independent scientists and engineers who objected to the President’s moratorium in favor of rational, fact-based reforms,” said Cassidy. “It is welcome news for thousands of Louisiana welders, pipefitters, engineers, and roustabouts whose jobs were threatened by a political decision.”

Altogether, it’s a good day. Louisiana won this round against the president. If he’s smart, and he’s proving he’s not, Obama will take stock of the fact that he can’t win on the Obamoratorium – all he can do is inflame the situation and make himself look petty, unwise and radical.

UPDATE #2: A quote from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: “I’m asking the President, I’m asking Secretary Salazar – do NOT appeal this injunction.”

UPDATE: A copy of the ruling can be found here, in PDF format.

U.S. Eastern District of Louisiana federal judge Martin Feldman has just issued a preliminary injunction against the Department of the Interior’s deepwater drilling moratorium.

According to AP, “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.”

During the hearing Monday, the judge asked lawyers for the federal government to square the fact that after the Exxon Valdez disaster the feds didn’t bar oil tankers from the waters around Alaska with the deepwater drilling ban. The attorneys answered that the Macondo spill was a “game-changer.”

That’s not generally very persuasive to a judge, and it clearly wasn’t here.

Word is that the government will appeal. Doing so would put the case in the U.S. Fifth Circuit, widely regarded as the most conservative and pro-business of the nation’s appellate courts. The chances of the Obama administration winning in the 5th, which like Feldman’s court is based in New Orleans, aren’t great.

Furthermore, as the Times-Picayune noted last night in quoting Loyola Law professor Blaine LeCesne, appealing is an expensive proposition.

But LeCesne noted that if the government wants to stay any preliminary injunction, it could be required to post a bond equivalent to the damage faced by the affected parties, such as Hornbeck. “It could be billions,” LeCesne said. “It could be cost-prohibitive to appeal.”

Guess we now know what BP’s $20 billion is for.

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