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Judge who nixed drilling ban has oil investments

Jun 23, 2010 7:14:00 AM - thestate.com
The Louisiana judge who struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry, according to financial disclosure reports. He's also a new member of a secret national security court.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, reported owning less than $15,000 in stock in 2008 in Transocean Ltd., the company that owned the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Feldman overturned the ban Tuesday, saying the government simply assumed that because one rig exploded, the others pose an imminent danger, too.

The White House promised an immediate appeal. The Interior Department had imposed the moratorium last month in the wake of the BP disaster, halting approval of any new permits for deepwater projects and suspending drilling on 33 exploratory wells.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement late Tuesday that within the next few days he would issue a new order imposing a moratorium that eliminates any doubt it is needed and appropriate.