The government lost its bid to keep the oil drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Obama administration lost another legal skirmish on Thursday when a judge refused to put on hold his decision lifting a ban on deepwater oil drilling imposed after the worst spill in U.S. history.
After striking down the moratorium on Tuesday, a federal judge in New Orleans rejected an administration request to allow the six-month ban to stand while the government appeals his decision.
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Judge Martin Feldman issued a brief order denying the stay request, pointing to his previous ruling that criticized the ban as arbitrary, far-reaching and unjustified given the impact on thousands of oil industry workers and communities.
The government has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and can ask it to stay Feldman’s decision. It is also revising the ban to make it more flexible and possibly open some areas to drilling, but has not said when it will issue a new moratorium.