A federal judge in New Orleans, Louisiana, has blocked a six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf.

Several dozen plaintiffs had sued President Barack Obama’s administration, arguing the ban would create long-term economic harm to their businesses. Obama ordered the moratorium after the April 20 explosion of an oil rig off Louisiana that killed 11 people and triggered an underwater oil gusher.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the government will immediately appeal the ruling to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Source

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  • http://twitter.com/MaxKennerly Max Kennerly, Esq.

    Amazing. The bar for such an injunction is quite high — the plaintiffs have to show the government's decisions was “arbitrary and capricious.” Here, the Secretary of the Interior showed ample evidence that deepwater wells at a depth of more than 1,000 were insecure.

    Odds are good the Fifth Circuit — which is generally quite friendly to oil interests (Justice Hugo Black long ago objected to the Fifth Circuit's composition of LA, MS, and TX because they were all oil-producing states) — will swiftly reverse.

    If they don't, then it'll probably only take a week or two of additional factual findings for the administration to re-ban drilling and then prevail on the next rounds of lawsuits.

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