News In Brief

Judge who struck down deepwater drilling ban owned $15K of Transocean stock

Melissa Kaplan Jun 23, 2010

Financial reports unveiled that U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who struck down the Obama Administration’s six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling, owned just under $15,000 worth of stock in Transocean Ltd, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig at the heart of the Gulf oil crisis. The latest filings available were from 2008, and the justice wouldn’t comment on whether he still owned these stocks, according to the Associated Press.

The White House wants an appeal of the Louisiana court’s Tuesday decision against the decision. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be on Capitol Hill today to explain why the moratorium is necessary The Obama administration imposed the ban in the wake of the continued BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to allow time to study what went wrong and make sure future drilling is safe.

Judge Feldman overturned the ban on grounds that current drilling imposed no imminent danger. The moratorium is also widely unpopular among thousands of oil workers involved in drilling operations that haven’t had safety problems, reports Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman.

Judge Feldman isn’t the first or only justice who have what some could interpret as conflict-of-interest investments. The Associated Press reports 64 Gulf-area justices have ties to the gas and oil industries.

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