New Orleans, LA (AP) - The federal judge who struck down the Obama
administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling after the Gulf oil spill is ordering the Interior Department to act quickly on five pending deepwater drilling permits.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman told the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to act within 30 days on the pending permits. The agency can approve or reject the permit applications.
The judge says the agency needs to begin processing permits again to "restore normalcy to the Gulf region." Feldman says the federal government's inaction has hurt drilling companies.
In June, Feldman overturned the agency's decision to halt new permits for deepwater projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells after the Deepwater Horizon blast, which killed 11 workers and triggered a massive spill in April.
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