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Federal Judge Strikes Down Drilling Ban

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A federal judge in Louisiana has ruled against the federal government's moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Judge Martin Feldman has ordered the federal government to halt its implementation of the six-month moratorium, based on arguments by several oil companies that the suspension would hurt their business.

In his ruling, Feldman also noted that while the federal government presented "compelling recommendations" that new safety regulations are needed as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident, it did not present conclusive evidence that new deepwater drilling projects "put us all in a universal threat of irreparable harm."

As the Associated Press reports, several oil companies testified before Feldman in New Orleans on Monday, claiming that the federal government failed to prove 33 deepwater wells were dangerous before issuing the moratorium.

President Barack Obama announced the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a series of new regulations designed to create greater oversight of the oil industry, following the nation's worst oil disaster. The federal government has indicated it will appeal Feldman's decision, according to the AP.