Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
[Ed Note: Ernie Canning appeared as my guest on last night's Mike Malloy Show to discuss Feldman's conflicts-of-interest and the government's appeal described below. The audio archive of that interview can be heard here. - BF]
In a powerful and carefully-crafted 5th Circuit Court of Appeal motion [PDF] filed in Hornbeck Offshore Services vs. Salazar --- a motion which did not touch upon the question of whether U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman's substantial investments in the oil industry mandated a recusal --- the government argued that, in enjoining the Department of Interior's six month suspension of offshore drilling on just 33 "of the approximately 3,600 structures in the Gulf dedicated to offshore oil exploration and production," following the BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon disaster, Judge Feldman abused his discretion by substituting his own personal judgment over matters that, by statute and federal regulations, are the province of federal officials.
The Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement ("BOEMRE") have the legally mandated duty and authority to regulate such matters, the government is arguing.
"While Plaintiffs’ concerns appear limited to the next financial quarter," the motion explains, "[the Department of] Interior must ensure not only that OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] drilling operations are safe and secure but also that the Nation’s fisheries, coastal ecosystems, and other public lands continue to provide jobs, recreation opportunities, habitat for wildlife, healthy ecosystems, and economic resources for all of the public."
The appellate motion by federal officials calling for a stay of Judge Feldman's recent preliminary injunction on the exploratory drilling moratorium will be argued before a three-judge panel on Thursday...