A federal judge in New Orleans on Tuesday sided with the oil industry, striking down the temporary moratorium on new offshore exploration and deepwater drilling the Obama administration imposed last month. That judge, it turns out, has in recent years had interests in Transocean—the world's largest offshore drilling company and the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig—as well as other energy companies engaged in offshore oil extraction.Can we say "conflict of interest?"
According to the most recently available financial disclosure form for US District Court Judge Martin Feldman, he had holdings of up to $15,000 in Transocean in 2008. He has also recently owned stock in offshore drilling or oilfield service providers Halliburton, Prospect Energy, Hercules Offshore, Parker Drilling Co., and ATP Oil & Gas.
Feldman's most recent financial disclosures are not yet available online, so it remains unclear whether he still has holdings in Transocean and a host of other firms with a stake in the verdict he rendered on Tuesday. If he does, that raises the question of whether he should have barred from hearing the case because of his financial interests. But in Louisiana it's hard to find a judge without ties to the industry. In the Gulf region, 37 of 64 federal judges have some ties to the oil sector.A Reagan-appointed judge with ties to the industry rules in favor of Big Oil - a decision the GOP wanted to hear. Sounds like a corrupt bargain if you ask me. What was his reasoning for the decision?
"If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are?" he asked. "Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing."Sounds like he is playing the "its not fair" card taken right out of the conservative handbook...
He also warned that the shutdown would have an "immeasurable effect" on the industry, the local economy and the U.S. energy supply.