Judge refuses to withdraw from drilling ban case

By: AP
By: AP

New Orleans -- A federal judge who overturned the Obama administration's initial six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling has refused to disqualify himself from the case.

Several environmental groups had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to withdraw from the case because of his investments in several oil and gas companies. Feldman refused in an order issued Friday and posted Monday.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court rejected the government's bid to restore its temporary ban on issuing new permits for deepwater drilling and suspension of 33 existing drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Justice Department later issued a new moratorium that it hopes will pass muster with the courts.

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