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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Court Halts Drilling Moratorium

Stateline reports:
Government officials in Gulf states praised a federal judge's ruling Tuesday lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling, while the Obama administration vowed to appeal it.

In May, as the catastrophic BP oil spill spiraled out of control, the administration called a halt to deepwater projects and suspended drilling in 33 exploratory wells, the Associated Press reported. Mississippi governor Haley Barbour and his Louisiana counterpart, Bobby Jindal, both Republicans, complained that the moratorium would cost their states jobs.

On Tuesday, Barbour hailed the ruling. "Hopefully, the judge's ruling will go into effect quickly and be upheld on upheal," he said. "The moratorium is bad policy."

On his Facebook page, Jindal called the ruling "welcome news to Louisianans whose jobs were threatened by the 'arbitrary and capricious' moratorium."

The story illustrates key facets of American government.
  • The first is the role of the judiciary, which may sometimes check actions by the other branches. As Tocqueville wrote, "There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one."
  • The second is federalism. The perspectives of governors are different from those of presidents.
  • The third is party politics. Republicans have been critical of President Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill, just as Democrats were critical of President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina.