Interior Secretary Salazar wins court victory on order to act on pending permits

For now, the Department of the Interior can breathe easy when it comes to oil drilling in the Gulf. Secretary Ken Salazar has been under fire recently for holding up drilling permits, but late Tuesday, he won a court victory.

A federal appellate court ruled Tuesday evening that Salazar does not have to comply with a previous court order to act on five pending permits in 30 days. The time limit would have been up this Saturday.

In February, Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Louisiana, ordered Salazar to act on five deep-water drilling projects. Salazar then appealed the court order, and Tuesday’s decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is a temporary stay on Feldman’s order.

In his appeal, Salazar argued that if Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) had to act on the permits, all five would likely be denied. That, said the appeal, “in turn would frustrate Congress’ stated preference that the Outer Continental Shelf be made available” for drilling.

Interior and BOEMRE have been in the spotlight recently for what some have called a de facto moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. After the BP oil spill last spring, a moratorium was imposed. But while it was lifted last October, deepwater drilling still hasn’t resume to its full pace.

Since March 1, however, the agency has issued two deep-water drilling permits: one for Noble Energy off the coast of Louisiana, and one for BHP Billiton. The second permit was issued late last Friday.

  • kingfish

    Figures! The entire judicial system is corrupt and bought off, to include the Supremes. After the Supremes refused to rule on Obama’s birth certificate at least 4 times, that was the final nail in the coffin of what little respect was left. Judge Thomas stated they were “avoiding the issue”, the COWERING JERKS!

  • Bytor

    @ goldbeachbiker,

    Absolutely my friend. That is EXACTLY what they should start doing. States should start telling the Feds to get lost! Feds have NO jurisdiction in the states on these matters. The Constitution does NOT allow Federal jurisdiction on mineral rights. The Feds cannot stop (under the Constitution) a state from mining, exploring, drilling, selling, exploiting or whatever the hell they want to do with any minerals or natural resources belonging to the state, PERIOD! The Feds cannot do anything about it. It is time for state to say FU to the Feds on all of this. Tell the Feds “try to stop us”.

  • flynlownslo

    RNC take note: How about a PR campaign based on “Obama administration goes to court to prevent oil companies from drilling for our domestic oil supply!” or
    “Obama administration in court to insure U.S. will remain dependent on foreign oil supplies!”

  • revpettibone

    When it comes to the development of energy sources, Mr Obama is quick to approve grants and permits to the likes of wind farmers, solar panelists and cow fart collectors… but when an “oil man” becomes part of the equation, the president is proving he knows how to put the screws to an applicant.

    You know I’m right… Obama’s no friend to our domestic oil companies. Not when he grants loans to Brazilian drillers, while at the same time closes down American oil rigs in the Gulf. I never thought I’d say this, but for once I’m in agreement with Bill Clinton when he says, ” Delaying the permitting of oil rigs in the Gulf was ridiculous at a time when the economy is still recovering.”

  • centexan

    If Interior would spend as much time and energy on permits as they do fighting in court, more permits would have been issued. People are screaming about jobs and there are thousands available in the Gulf if Salazar would stop procrastinating.

  • goldbeachbiker

    It’s time for for the drilling companies to essentially say FU to the feds and drill anyway. Time’s getting short; we are reaching the tipping point soon.

  • fourleafclover

    If I could find Salazar’s car I would siphon all of his gas into my tank. I think he owes me a lot of money due to his interference in providing energy for the U.S. I would love to be a new president who says to Salazar “you’re fired, get out”.

    I wish someone would dig into the relationship between the Sierra Club and the federal government. I think the Sierra Club is the EPA. I know the World Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation and the Defenders of Wildlife are now led by lift wing extremists. It’s too bad they have lost their way and are now just really big political players instead of protecting wildlife. They spend a lot of their money lobbying Obama. They use “Wildlife” in their name to sucker people into donating. They then send out emergency letters asking for funds which are nothing more than a scam. I donate my wildlife money now to a local no kill animal shelter and the Salvation Army. At least I can see what they’re doing with the money and I haven’t ever seen any sign of politics other than the local animal shelter asking for tougher puppy mill laws.

  • thephranc

    And this is good for America how?

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