As Louisiana basks in the glow of Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling savaging the Obama administration’s “edict” banning deepwater offshore oil drilling, the President’s bureaucrats are busy concocting yet another Obamoratorium.
CNN reports that this second ban will be coming in the next few days. Details on how it would differ from the original ban thrown overboard by Feldman were not available; neither were statements as to how Obamoratorium 2.0 would overcome the legal issues – among those, the requirement in federal law to assess economic impacts on affected parties prior to creating federal law by executive fiat – which fell afoul of Feldman’s judgement today.
“We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP’s well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling,” Salazar said in a statement quoted in the report. “That evidence mounts as BP continues to be unable to stop its blowout, notwithstanding the huge efforts and help from the federal scientific team and most major oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The statement from the Interior Secretary, whose tenure in office has been marked by a seemingly endless string of controversy and error, seems awfully close to outright disregard of a 22-page federal court ruling which castigated the administration for what it implies was a fraudulent bait-and-switch treatment of its expert panel advising on actions to follow the Gulf oil spill and which objected strongly to the promulgation of a ban without input from local stakeholders as required by law.
Salazar’s statement continues the argument the government lost in the hearing with Feldman on Monday – namely, that the BP spill was a “game-changer.” In that contention, the Obama administration is in a small minority comprised largely of left-wing environmentalist radicals. The vast majority of Louisianians and a majority of Americans in poll after poll offer decisive evidence that the country wants offshore drilling to continue. And people with a knowledge of the oil business continue to speak out against the Obamoratorium.
Reaction to the announcement among Louisianians and others with a stake in the issue has been fiery, if nothing else.
“Arrogance doesn’t begin to describe these people,” said one commenter on a New Orleans-based forum.
“If Salazar has new arguments or facts in support of a decision to impose a moratorium, he must present them to Judge Feldman,” said another on a Louisiana political board. “The judge decides, not the secretary of the Interior. If Salazar issues such an order, I’ll guarantee, Feldman will issue a subpoena sua sponte for Salazar to appear before him and show cause why he should not be held in contempt.”
“The Judge ruled that the government did not show adequate proof to invoke the Moratorium,” a Facebook commenter said. “So Salazar said he is re-issuing the Moratorium in more detailed language which will include proof to stand up in court. They have to do that so that maybe Obama won’t get impeached when he directs MMS to deny permits anyway.”
“Can’t we get a protective order against Salazar?” asked another Facebook correspondent.
Louisiana Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu sounded a similar note even before news of a second Obamoratorium. “I’m going to strongly urge the administration not to appeal this ruling, but to try to find a way forward that would achieve the president’s goals for safety and responsibility, but at the same time would not jeopardize and threaten a very vibrant and necessary industry for decades,” she said.
In a move which seems suspiciously related to the Feldman ruling, the federal government has now ordered a halt to Louisiana’s sand berm project, raining down a curtain of red tape as of midnight on Wednesday.
The federal government is shutting down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico.
The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.
Nungesser said the government has asked crews to move the dredging site two more miles farther off the coastline.
“Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil,” Nungesser wrote to Obama. “Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.
Nungesser has asked for the dredging to continue for the next seven days, the amount of time it would take to move the dredging operations two miles and out resume work.
President Obama, you cannot ask the people of Louisiana to believe anything other than that this is petty revenge on the state for standing in the way of your diktats. It’s un-American and extra-legal, and we will not stand for it.
Our suggestion for fighting fire with fire remains on the table, and we encourage Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to break the glass on it at his leisure.