Company asks judge to overturn drilling moratorium

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A company that owns and operates offshore drilling rigs asked a federal judge to throw out the latest moratorium on deepwater oil drilling.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman heard arguments Wednesday on Ensco Offshore’s bid to overturn a six-month drilling ban imposed July 12 by the Interior Department after the BP oil spill. Feldman didn’t immediately rule.

The department issued the moratorium after Feldman overturned its initial May 28 directive to halt approval of new deepwater permits and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ensco claims Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the second moratorium to circumvent Feldman’s order.

Government lawyers say the July directive came after a “reasoned decision-making process” based on new information.