Judge Strikes Down Drill Ban, WH Vows Appeal

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The U.S. Department of Interior is seeking to re-impose a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling one day after a Louisiana federal judge struck down an existing order.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry, said the rationale for the moratorium doesn't factor into the safety records of other companies who operate in the Gulf.

The White House will appeal the decision immediately, saying it needed those six months to check safety standards and make sure another crisis like the one in the Gulf of Mexico never happens again.

"Continuing to drill at these depths without knowing what happened does not make any sense." White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Those who sued to stop the moratorium claimed it would kill thousands of oil industry and related jobs. The judge agreed, saying the moratorium would have drastic economic effects on the Gulf region.

Many feared the moratorium could cause some oil companies to leave the area and move overseas permanently.

"I believe we've already had eight rigs leave the Gulf, and they're not coming back," support boat captain Bret Wallace said.

"We're already hearing about layoffs and hearing of drill ships that are moving to other parts of the globe," Louisiania's Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle said.

"Do not appeal the injunction," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said. "Listen to the judge. This moratorium is arbitrary and capricious."

Those who are unemployed like deckhand Durhl Davis have been "hoping and praying" for the moratorium to end.

"I got a wife and four kids back home," Davis said.

However, environmental groups say the judge's ruling ignores the damage done by the present spill.

So far, an estimated 160 million gallons of oil has escaped into the Gulf over the last two months. The oil ban was declared on May 6 and was originally to last only through the month.

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