A Louisiana federal judge on Wednesday held the Interior Department in contempt for re-imposing a deepwater oil-drilling ban last year after the judge had struck down an earlier version of the moratorium.
The contempt finding provides political ammunition for Republicans and pro-drilling Democrats who say Interior is blocking offshore development. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) quickly called the order a “sharp rebuke of the Interior Department for continuing to place politics before all else following the BP spill.”
Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling — which is stuffed with harsh words for Interior — orders the department to pay attorneys’ fees in the case against last year’s drilling ban brought by several offshore oil services companies.
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