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Judge blocks Gulf offshore drilling moratorium

RightinNYC

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Judge block Gulf offshore drilling moratorium - San Jose Mercury News

A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.

...

Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
Let's not confuse our thoughts on the policy issues with the merits of the legal arguments.
 

Mason66

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But the administration is going to appeal the ruling and tie it up in courts for a long time while the people have no jobs.
 

danarhea

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Judge block Gulf offshore drilling moratorium - San Jose Mercury News



Let's not confuse our thoughts on the policy issues with the merits of the legal arguments.
I would like to ask a couple of questions here.

1) These offshore drilling spots are known as leases. Does that mean BP owns them? No, it doesn't.

2) Are the leases owned by the Federal government?

3) If the leases are owned by the Federal government, then wouldn't telling the owner of the leases whether or not the leases are allowed to be drilled constitute acting against the interests of the owner of the property?

4) Finally, isn't it Republicans who have made it a huge point that ordering the owner of a property to do something he doesn't want to do with it is anti American?

I am so confused here. :mrgreen:
 

Hoplite

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I would have liked to have seen a permanent stoppage that would be lifted on a per-rig basis if the owners of a rig could demonstrate that adequate safety measures were in place and proper procedures were being followed. If you cant show that you are operating your rig safely, the rig doesn't get turned on.
 

Renae

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I would have liked to have seen a permanent stoppage that would be lifted on a per-rig basis if the owners of a rig could demonstrate that adequate safety measures were in place and proper procedures were being followed. If you cant show that you are operating your rig safely, the rig doesn't get turned on.
We've been drilling in the Gulf for how many Decades?

One rig goes to hell and the sky is falling.
 

jallman

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I would like to ask a couple of questions here.

1) These offshore drilling spots are known as leases. Does that mean BP owns them? No, it doesn't.

2) Are the leases owned by the Federal government?

3) If the leases are owned by the Federal government, then wouldn't telling the owner of the leases whether or not the leases are allowed to be drilled constitute acting against the interests of the owner of the property?

4) Finally, isn't it Republicans who have made it a huge point that ordering the owner of a property to do something he doesn't want to do with it is anti American?

I am so confused here. :mrgreen:
I am pretty sure the lease terms included specific language about the intended purpose of the lease for the leasor.
 

danarhea

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We've been drilling in the Gulf for how many Decades?

One rig goes to hell and the sky is falling.
This is extremely misleading. We have been doing shallow water drilling in the Gulf for decades, but deep water drilling is pretty new, as it was not long ago that we acquired the technology and methods to try it this deep. You can't put shallow water drilling and deep water drilling in the same category. Since deep water drilling is new, the likelihood of another disaster is orders of magnitude higher than with shallow drilling.
 

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I would have liked to have seen a permanent stoppage that would be lifted on a per-rig basis if the owners of a rig could demonstrate that adequate safety measures were in place and proper procedures were being followed. If you cant show that you are operating your rig safely, the rig doesn't get turned on.
I would assume that is how things are done.

I can't beleive with as many regulators that are out in the gulf that they don't do inspections all the time to etither collect the fines or to allow the drilling to continue.

If a new rig is allowed to start operation without any kind of inspection from the expert regulators, I would say any failure of that rig is on the regulators.
 

Hoplite

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We've been drilling in the Gulf for how many Decades?

One rig goes to hell and the sky is falling.
Is there a problem with ensuring that all rigs currently in the water are operating within safety guidelines?
 

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I would like to ask a couple of questions here.

1) These offshore drilling spots are known as leases. Does that mean BP owns them? No, it doesn't.

2) Are the leases owned by the Federal government?

3) If the leases are owned by the Federal government, then wouldn't telling the owner of the leases whether or not the leases are allowed to be drilled constitute acting against the interests of the owner of the property?

4) Finally, isn't it Republicans who have made it a huge point that ordering the owner of a property to do something he doesn't want to do with it is anti American?

I am so confused here. :mrgreen:
Just because you "own" the area does not mean you can ignore your contractual obligations as you see fit. The government has signed contracts and agreements that these companies can operate in these areas, and they are bound by law to uphold those contracts.
 

NolaMan

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Is there a problem with ensuring that all rigs currently in the water are operating within safety guidelines?
This has already been done. Immediately after the oil rig explosion, a review was done of all other deepwater drilling platforms, and they were all found to be in complete compliance, except for two, which had "minor" problems, but from what I understand, those problems would have no impact on the rigs ability to operate in a safe manner.
 

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A moratorium seems justifiable when considered in the light of the worst ecological disaster in American oil extraction history. While the event may be rare in the industry the consequences are so severe to the country as a whole that a temporary pause in the activity seems appropriate especially given the anything-goes approach of the previous administration.
 

Hoplite

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This has already been done. Immediately after the oil rig explosion, a review was done of all other deepwater drilling platforms, and they were all found to be in complete compliance, except for two, which had "minor" problems, but from what I understand, those problems would have no impact on the rigs ability to operate in a safe manner.
Can I see a source on that?
 

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I would assume that is how things are done.

I can't beleive with as many regulators that are out in the gulf that they don't do inspections all the time to etither collect the fines or to allow the drilling to continue.

If a new rig is allowed to start operation without any kind of inspection from the expert regulators, I would say any failure of that rig is on the regulators.
Rigs are not allowed to begin operation until they pass an MMS inspection. These are sometimes known as "walk-throughs" and must precede any drilling or production by the rig. There are other names for these initial inspections but their proper names slip my mind at this time.

The MMS is constantly inspecting all rigs offshore. The inspection process never stops. So if a rig begins operation without any kind of inspection it is on that rig operator, not the regulators. Again, you can't blame the cops if you speed. YOU are responsible for doing the right thing. And yes, they do collect fines from violations. Enough violations and they will be shut in. My father has personally had to do this a few times.
 
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jujuman13

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Rigs are not allowed to begin operation until they pass an MMS inspection. These are sometimes known as "walk-throughs" and must precede any drilling or production by the rig. There are other names for these initial inspections but their proper names slip my mind at this time.

The MMS is constantly inspecting all rigs offshore. The inspection process never stops. So if a rig begins operation without any kind of inspection it is on that rig operator, not the regulators. Again, you can't blame the cops if you speed. YOU are responsible for doing the right thing. And yes, they do collect fines from violations. Enough violations and they will be shut in. My father has personally had to do this a few times.
Then it is a great pity that he did not do this with the Rig used in the BP caused disaster!!
 

dontworrybehappy

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That rig was not in his district.

Hindsight is always 20-20 anyway. Reports show that the inspections preceding the explosion showed nothing of concern. **** happens. Period.
 
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NolaMan

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Can I see a source on that?
Sure...

From a Department of Interior press release... (you will see the release posted on the main page)
At the request of Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Minerals Management Service continues its re-inspection of all deepwater oil and gas facilities on the outer Continental Shelf. MMS has completed its inspection of deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and no major violations were found.
 

danarhea

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Just because you "own" the area does not mean you can ignore your contractual obligations as you see fit. The government has signed contracts and agreements that these companies can operate in these areas, and they are bound by law to uphold those contracts.
Rights are based on property. Say I am in my back yard and change the oil in my car, and I just throw the old oil onto the ground. Then along comes a rain and washes that oil over into my neighbor's yards, and his plants die, I am liable, and I am in breach of my contract as a citizen (I have broken the law).

Same with BP - They run a reckless operation, and spilled oil from their lease washes up on OTHER PEOPLE'S PROPERTY, then they have violated their agreement also, and are not entitled to keep the lease. Everybody has rights, as long as those rights do not infringe on the rights of others. BP only has rights up to the point they violate the rights of others. BP does not have the right to violate the property or rights of others.

Now let's use a little logic here. Since BP screwed up deep water drilling, it is only natural that the OWNER of the properties in the Gulf, namely the Federal government, has the right to make sure that this does not happen again. That is where the moratorium for 6 months comes in. It is the same thing as being a landlord who has a bad tenant in an upstairs apartment, who continually overflows his bath tub, causing damage to the apartment below him. In this case (At least in Texas), the landlord has the right to seek an emergency eviction order, so that he can get rid of the tenant in the upstairs apartment, in the interest of the well being of the tenant in the lower apartment.

By the same token, the owner of the leases, that is, the Federal government, is within its rights to order that drilling in deep water be stopped because of the possible danger it poses to properties on the coasts, until such time that the danger can be rectified, and also has the power to force BP to pay for the damages that BP caused to the property of others.
 

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Yes, it's true. Every rig has small spills and flare ups. I will repeat, inspections prior to the explosion indicate no issues of concern.

The Deepwater Horizon's record was so exemplary, according to MMS officials, that the rig was never on inspectors' informal "watch list" for problem rigs.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/16/deepwater-horizon-inspect_n_578079.html

Not sure if you understand this, but limited resources will cause inspectors to focus on rigs that are problematic. Just like a cop won't waste time trying to catch speeders in a zone not known for speeders when right down the road there is a zone notorious for drag racing. They're going to put their limited resources to the best possible use.

Weather plays a huge part in inspections. There are days, even weeks, that go buy that allow almost no inspections to get done because it's just not safe to do. You have to fly in helicopters out over hundreds of miles of open water. Why risk your life to do that in bad weather for a rig that has an "exemplary" safety record? I'll say it again, hindsight is always 20-20. I never once saw any one complaining about the MMS utilizing their limited resources to watch out for problematic rigs before this explosion.
 
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Hoplite

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Sure...

From a Department of Interior press release... (you will see the release posted on the main page)
Thats good, but I'm talking about an across-the-board shut down of every rig on every well in US territorial waters until every last one can be determined to be safe.

The report is somewhat unsettling because there are indications that the Horizon had a history of safety problems prior to this event.
 

NolaMan

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Rights are based on property. Say I am in my back yard and change the oil in my car, and I just throw the old oil onto the ground. Then along comes a rain and washes that oil over into my neighbor's yards, and his plants die, I am liable, and I am in breach of my contract as a citizen (I have broken the law).

Same with BP - They run a reckless operation, and spilled oil from their lease washes up on OTHER PEOPLE'S PROPERTY, then they have violated their agreement also, and are not entitled to keep the lease. Everybody has rights, as long as those rights do not infringe on the rights of others. BP only has rights up to the point they violate the rights of others. BP does not have the right to violate the property or rights of others.
I agree BP is going to be held liable, but it would depend on the language in the contract if they would forfeit the lease.. I would imagine that would have been clearly inserted somewhere in the language and if it was an issue, it would be an issue already.

Now let's use a little logic here. Since BP screwed up deep water drilling, it is only natural that the OWNER of the properties in the Gulf, namely the Federal government, has the right to make sure that this does not happen again. That is where the moratorium for 6 months comes in. It is the same thing as being a landlord who has a bad tenant in an upstairs apartment, who continually overflows his bath tub, causing damage to the apartment below him. In this case (At least in Texas), the landlord has the right to seek an emergency eviction order, so that he can get rid of the tenant in the upstairs apartment, in the interest of the well being of the tenant in the lower apartment.
It would again depend on the language of the lease...

However, a more appropriate anaolgy going with your example would be that in a 4 plex, 1 tenant overflows their bathtub, so all tenants are suddenly banned from taking baths.

By the same token, the owner of the leases, that is, the Federal government, is within its rights to order that drilling in deep water be stopped because of the possible danger it poses to properties on the coasts, until such time that the danger can be rectified, and also has the power to force BP to pay for the damages that BP caused to the property of others.
They are not allowed to cancel contracts with other entities simply because some other group had a problem..the judge's point backed this up I think. He argued that just becuase BP had an accident, does not automatically mean other rigs will as well.

In fact, as I posted earlier, the DOI has done an inspection of all of these rigs, and they were all found to have no major problems.
 

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Thats good, but I'm talking about an across-the-board shut down of every rig on every well in US territorial waters until every last one can be determined to be safe.
I do not think that is feasible. Even President Obama is not going this far. I would also point out that basically all of these rigs undergo routine inspections anyway pretty reguarly, so to reinspect everything would probably not really accomplish all that much.

The report is somewhat unsettling because there are indications that the Horizon had a history of safety problems prior to this event.
That sounds like a failure of government to enforce its own regulations then...which begs the questions, what good do more regulations do when you do not enforce the ones already on the books?
 
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