News media banned from offshore drilling conference
NEW ORLEANS--News organizations were barred from a conference over a company's claim that the government has not issued a single drilling permit, even though the moratorium was lifted last month.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman said the hearing would be held in his chambers, and news organizations had no right to attend.
The government is defending the time it is taking to approve deepwater offshore drilling permits that would have been suspended under the moratorium that was lifted nearly a month ago.
Ensco Offshore claims that since the ban was lifted Oct. 12, the government has not issued a single permit that would allow the resumption of any previously suspended drilling activities.
The government doesn't seem to dispute that allegation, and says it must make sure applications meet regulations toughened after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Since Oct. 12, the government has received one application for a permit to drill a new well and one to drill a sidetrack. It also received three revised applications for permits to drill. All are pending.
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