June 22, 2010
Posted: 08:27 AM ET
A judge in New Orleans may rule Tuesday on whether to lift the federal government's moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman has said he will give his decision between early Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon on whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the six-month ban, which halts all drilling in more than 500 feet of water and prevents new permits from being issued.
Brian Collins, an attorney for the Justice Department, insisted Monday that the suspension is necessary while officials conduct a safety review after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
But a group of companies that provide boats and equipment to the offshore drilling industry filed a lawsuit claiming the government has no evidence that existing operations pose a threat to the Gulf of Mexico. They want a court to declare the moratorium invalid and unenforceable.
The office of Louisiana's governor has filed a brief supporting their case.
"This is environmental disaster. Let's not make an economic disaster," Henry Dart, an attorney for the state of Louisiana, said Monday.
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