Home > newsroom > Page
Wall Street Journal Editorial: An Illegal Drilling Ban
“We recall a famous op-ed in which President Obama promised to do something about needless regulations that hurt the economy. How about starting by following the law?”

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2011 -

An Illegal Drilling Ban
Does Ken Salazar think he's above the law?
February 24, 2011
Wall Street Journal Editorial

Remember the BP oil spill and its aftermath? Folks remember it on the Gulf Coast, where late last week a federal judge ruled that the Obama Administration is imposing a de facto ban on deep water drilling that is "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified."

Federal Judge Martin Feldman ordered the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to act on five pending deep water permit applications within 30 days. The case was brought by Ensco, an offshore driller whose permits have been under review for as long as nine months.

Since finally lifting its blanket ban in October, the Administration has failed to issue a single permit, blaming strained resources and new regulations. Ensco believes, as Judge Feldman wrote, that the "government's continuous delays are intentional," part of an effort to use last year's BP oil spill as an excuse to limit fossil fuel extraction.

Judge Feldman wrote that permits had been approved within two weeks prior to the spill, and he dismissed the notion that Interior lacks the ability to issue permits expeditiously. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, he wrote, is up and running, the spill well has been contained, the new regulations "are no longer new," and the threat of rigs leaving Gulf waters becomes "more forceful each day"—all of which means that "nearly a year after the spill occurred, delays, particularly those of the length at issue here, become increasingly unreasonable."

The judge also dismissed the Administration's "cramped statutory reading" that Congress supposedly gave it carte blanche to decide permits on its own "unchecked whim." Such an approach, he wrote, "would produce autocratic discretion at best" and threatened Ensco's operations with "endless disability."

Judge Feldman struck down the Obama Administration's first drilling moratorium and earlier this month ruled Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in contempt for imposing a second moratorium that showed a "flagrant" disregard for the first ruling. The Administration seems to think he's kidding. We recall a famous op-ed in which President Obama promised to do something about needless regulations that hurt the economy. How about starting by following the law?

###

Printable PDF of this document


Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

Latest News

Committee Chairmen: EPA Releases Burdensome and Duplicative CERCLA Financial Assurance Rules

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released proposed requirements for risk management and financial assurance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability ...... Read more

GO Act Increases Opportunity for Recreation on Federal Lands

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on three bills, including H.R. 5129 (Rep. Doug LaMalfa), the “Guides and Outfitters Act” (GO Act). The GO Act streamlines the recrea...... Read more

Obama Administration’s Closing Acts on ESA Deliver Big for Radical Left Litigants

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the completion of initial reviews of three Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitions, including one setting the clock to potentially re-list ...... Read more

View All News

Calendar

Examining Decades of Data Manipulation at the United States Geological Survey
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
View All Events