Judge orders action on 6 deepwater permits
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has given the Obama administration 30 days to act on six permits for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman issued the order Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by Ensco Offshore Co. and others. He rejected Interior Department arguments that the issue was moot because it already has resumed issuing permits following the moratorium that was imposed last year after the BP oil spill.
Three permit applications at issue in the original lawsuit have been granted. But Feldman said the government's issuing of what he called "a scant few applications" does not provide the certainty Ensco needs to conduct its business in the Gulf. He said the law required the six remaining Ensco-related applications to be acted on within a reasonable period.