Lost amid the attention rightly paid to the Eleventh Circuit’s Obamacare decision is the fact that, also on Friday, a federal judge in Wyoming invalidated the Obama Interior Department’s attempt to slow-walk environmental reviews of industry applications to drill for oil and gas on federal lands nationwide.
Consistent with a disturbing Obama pattern, the administration was seeking, in effect, to rewrite congressional statutes by executive fiat. As Michelle Malkin explains, during the Bush years, Congress had mandated an expedited review process in order to expedite the development of oil and gas resources in places where the required environmental impact analysis had already been done, or where impact figured to be minimal. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar simply ignored the law and tried to impose the administration’s own preference — which is to strangle development, like the bureaucracy strangles most everything else, in miles of red tape and months of process.
As Michelle observes, the ruling in favor of a petroleum industry group (Western Energy Alliance) is all the more remarkable because the judge who issued it, Nancy Freudenthal, was appointed to the bench by President Obama.