A federal appeals court in New Orleans, La., has rejected the Obama administration's effort to reinstate a deepwater drilling moratorium on Thursday.
Two federal courts have ruled that a government ban on deepwater drilling is unlawful, but dozens of offshore rigs are still unable to drill. Businesses that rely on oil-related jobs continue to feel the pinch.
Businessman Ronnie Howard sells overalls and protective gear to oil workers from his headquarters in northwest Houston, Texas. While his business is a long way from an offshore oil rig, he fears if there's no drilling, his business and his employees will suffer.
"Forty percent of our business is offshore and it dies if the rigs move and if the Gulf becomes the Dead Sea," Howard said.
Thousands of people in Houston depend on offshore work to feed their families. Houston-area drillers and suppliers say they have to fight for their survival now.
"Being involved in the political process now is not a matter of choice, it's a matter of survival," Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Houston, said.
Howard said after a downturn with the economy last year, business this year was steady, until the oil spill happened.
"This is an unfortunate environmental disaster, but we're going to have an economic disaster if this moratorium stays in effect," he said.
Howard is not contemplating layoffs yet, but it may come to that, especially considering those oil rigs make $200,000 to $500,000 a day.
Meanwhile, the court's latest ruling on the ban won't be the final word on the issue. An appeal is likely to be filed in late August or September.
The administration had reportedly decided to issue a second "court-proof" ban if they lost.