NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled the Obama administration didn’t violate an order by a judge who struck down the government’s temporary moratorium on deepwater drilling after BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman’s civil contempt finding against the Interior Department. The divided panel concluded Interior officials took steps to avoid the effect of an injunction issued by Feldman but didn’t violate it.
Feldman had chided the department for its “dismissive conduct” after he overturned its decision to halt new permits for deepwater projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells.
Feldman also awarded $530,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to offshore service companies that challenged the moratorium.
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