White House To ‘Immediately Appeal’ Ruling on Drilling Moratorium

Jun 22, 2010 2:23pm

From Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller:

The White House says they will immediately appeal the decision by a U.S judge to block President Obama’s six-month moratorium on offshore drilling.

“We will immediately appeal to the 5th circuit,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at today’s daily briefing, “The president strongly believes, as the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice argued yesterday, that continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened is — does not make any sense.”

The decision came down just a few moments before by a federal judge in New Orleans.

“This Court is persuaded that the public interest weighs in favor of granting a preliminary injunction,"
 the decision reads. “While a suspension of activities directed after a rational interpretation of the evidence could outweigh the impact on the plaintiffs and the public, here, the Court has found the plaintiffs would likely succeed in showing that the agency’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.”

Speaking from the White House podium, Gibbs said the president believes that continuing to drill right now potentially puts the safety of those on the rigs and safety of the environment in the Gulf in danger.

“The president does not believe that we can afford right now,” Gibbs said.

In the wake of the Gulf oil spill, the administration ordered a moratorium on all offshore oil and gas drilling activity from floating drilling rigs until the president’s commission on the BP incident has completed a more thorough review. The moratorium was extended by six months in late May and applies to wells in waters above a depth of 500 feet, including 33 deep water rigs that had been permitted in the Gulf of Mexico.

-Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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