Judge Who Overturned Drilling Ban Has Significant Oil Holdings – Possible Ethics conflict

The federal judge who overruled the administration’s six-month moratorium <http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/06/22/us/AP-US-Gulf-Oil-Spill.html?_r=1&hp> on deepwater drilling, stating that the government did not made a strong enough case for the ban, “has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry,” the Associated Press <http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9GGS6FO0> reported.* In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman wrote that the administration had acted “arbitrarily and capriciously in issuing the moratorium,” *and sided with corporations who said that the ban would cost the region thousands of jobs. The “blanket moratorium, with no parameters,” Feldman <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/06/gulf-oil-spill-obama-moratorium-on-drilling-is-struck-down.html> wrote, “seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger.” While Feldman, a Reagan appointee, described oil revenue as “elemental” to the Gulf, ThinkProgress <http://thinkprogress.org/2010/06/22/judge-moratorium-energy-portfolio/> points out that it may also be elemental to the judicial system: “Like many judges presiding in the Gulf region, Feldman owns lots of energy stocks, including Transocean, Halliburton, and two of BP’s largest U.S. private shareholders—BlackRock (7.1%) and JP Morgan Chase (28.3%).” Further investigations into Feldman’s financial disclosure reports show that, while he claimed less than $15,000 in Transocean stock back in 2008, he also holds shares of Houston-based Ocean Energy, Peabody Energy, Atlas Energy Resources, Parker Drilling, Quicksilver Resources, Prospect Energy and others. “If Judge Feldman has any investments in oil and gas operators in the Gulf, it represents a flagrant conflict of interest,” Josh Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environmental Group, told the Associated Press. Reichert added that the ruling should be rescinded. *The challenge was backed by Louisiana corporate leaders and Governor Bobby Jindal, who worried that lucrative oil jobs would disappear to other countries during the ban.* The moratorium was first issued on May 6—several weeks after the April 20 spill—and Obama extended it for six months on May 27. The White House says it will appeal the decision. 
Read original story in The Associated Press <http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9GGS6FO0> | Tuesday, June 22,


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