Judge who overturned Obama Gulf drilling ban, had investments in oil
The federal judge who overturned the Obama administration's deepwater drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico reportedly has extensive investments in the energy industry, financial disclosure reports reveal.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman owned roughly $15,000 in Transocean Ltd. stock in 2008.
Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history, with as much as 127 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.
Feldman's other financial investments from the 2008 report include Halliburton, which was also involved with the Deepwater Horizon.
On Tuesday, Feldman ruled that the government overreacted, saying one rig's explosion did not mean others would blow up, too.
"If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing,” Feldman wrote.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal welcomed the decision, saying the ban could lead to “economic catastrophe” for the Gulf Coast.
Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar vowed to appeal the decision immediately.
"I will issue a new order in the coming days that eliminates any doubt that a moratorium is needed, appropriate, and within our authorities," Salazar said Tuesday.
Feldman, appointed in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, also sits on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is devoted to national security cases.
Prior to Feldman's ruling, the ban on deepwater drilling, pertaining to wells 500 feet or more below the surface, suspended drilling in 33 wells for up to six months.