The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) said it is encouraged by the June 22 decision in Federal court in New Orleans. The association said Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling means that, from this point forward, more attention must be paid to the rule of law and that the Administration must fully consider the economic impacts of its blanket moratorium on offshore drilling operations. The lawsuit’s success underscores that federal decisions must be made on the basis of demonstrable proof that ongoing operations pose some risk, not on the simple political expediency of declaring a stop work order. Since the 33 deepwater drilling platforms were closely re-inspected after the Deepwater Horizon accident and deemed safe to continue their work, there remains no basis for maintaining a ban on drilling operations, NOIA said.
This decision also recognizes that the Administration’s outright ban imperiled tens of thousands of jobs in the Gulf region, potentially delivering a blow to the region’s economy. Each idled deepwater drilling rig would result in a loss of approximately 1,400 direct and indirect jobs, for a grand total of 46,200 jobs lost. If left in place for months, the resulting job loss in the region could reach twice that amount as the layoffs and loss of revenue have a cascading effect throughout the economy.