Interior Department Issues New Drilling Ban | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Interior Department Issues New Drilling Ban

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Attorneys general representing Gulf Coast states are asking that a federal judge oversee BP's process for paying damages related to last year's massive oil spill.

The U.S. Interior Department issued a new offshore drilling moratorium yesterday that will be in effect until Nov. 30.

The new ban does not include the depth of water for drilling, Reuters reported today.

New Orleans federal judge Martin L. C. Feldman blocked a previous six-month moratorium last month for drilling in waters 500-feet deep or more. In his opinion, he wrote that the ban would cause economic harm to the oil business and workers.

After Feldman's ruling, several media outlets including the New York Times and the Associated Press reported that a financial disclosure form Feldman filed in May 2009 showed he owned stock in Transocean and other energy companies in 2008. The Judge sold many of the his oil and gas holdings since then, some on the same day he issued his ruling overturning the moratorium, reported Bloomberg Businessweek.

On July 8, a 5th Circuit U.S. Court panel denied the government's motion to stay Feldman's ruling, but allowed the appeal to move forward.

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