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Only Greed Is Important

Gulf Gusher symbolEvery time I think I have seen the US system bottom out, something comes along to remind me, that we have yet to see the bottom layer. From McClatchy: Judge blocks deepwater drilling ban; Obama to appeal

WASHINGTON — A federal judge Tuesday struck down President Barack Obama’s six-month ban on new deepwater drilling, siding with oil companies that argued that it would harm their businesses, eliminate jobs and weaken the economies of Gulf Coast states.

While the White House said it would immediately appeal the decision, environmental groups launched a quicker salvo, publicizing financial disclosure forms that showed that the judge in the case, Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, owns or has owned shares in several oil and gas firms. According to Feldman’s 2008 disclosures, he held up to $15,000 in Transocean, the owner of the ill-fated rig at a BP well that’s pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Legal experts said the revelation of a potential conflict of interest would bolster the Obama administration’s case, but appealing the decision puts the president at odds with many Gulf Coast residents, who rely on the deepwater oil industry for tens of thousands of jobs.

We have a judge who is an investor in the oil industry making decisions about that industry without any apparent concern about what that says about him or the Federal bench. With what will probably be the worst environmental disaster in the United States taking place almost on his doorstep, he doesn’t understand why anyone would want to stop and make sure that we can prevent this from happening again, before we tempt Fate. It doesn’t bother the judge that all of the oil companies have admitted they don’t have a plan to deal with this situation. It doesn’t bother the judge that everything that is available is already in use, with nothing available if another well blows out.

This bit really ticks me off: “appealing the decision puts the president at odds with many Gulf Coast residents, who rely on the deepwater oil industry for tens of thousands of jobs.”

What about the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on a healthy and oil-free Gulf of Mexico for their jobs?


1 Steve Bates { 06.23.10 at 10:10 am }

This bit really ticks me off: “appealing the decision puts the president at odds with many Gulf Coast residents, who rely on the deepwater oil industry for tens of thousands of jobs.” – Bryan

Did they ask us? Did the writer phone one single solitary Gulf Coast resident and actually ask what we thought of Obama’s moratorium, Judge Feldman’s reversal and (I am still choking on this) Feldman’s apparent blatant conflict of interest? Could this “reporter” not stand to hear the words, “NO, I do not like judges who rule in their self-interest but against the public’s interest”? Was the writer’s finger injured so that he could not dial his phone? That seems to happen a lot lately.

The documents are out there in Feldman’s 2008 disclosure forms (see my blog for a link). If later disclosures reveal the same or similar holdings… that is, if the documents haven’t mysteriously disappeared… Judge Feldman will have some really serious ethics questions to answer. He wouldn’t be the first federal judge to go bad.

2 Kryten42 { 06.23.10 at 10:21 am }

Yeah. Read about this at TP last night. Nothing like being impartial.

Like many judges presiding in the Gulf region, Feldman owns lots of energy stocks, including Transocean, Halliburton, and two of BP’s largest U.S. private shareholders — BlackRock (7.1%) and JP Morgan Chase (28.3%). Here’s a list of Feldman’s income in 2008 (amounts listed unless under $1,000):

BlackRock ($12000- $36000)
Ocean Energy ($1000 – $2500)
NGP Capital Resources ($1000 – $2500)
Quicksilver Resources ($5000 – $15000)
Hercules Offshore ($6000 – $17500)
Provident Energy
Peabody Energy
PenGrowth Energy
Atlas Energy Resources
Parker Drilling
TXCO Resources
EV Energy Partners
Rowan Companies
BPZ Resources
El Paso Corp
Chesapeake Energy
ATP Oil & Gas

In his opinion today, Feldman wrote, “Oil and gas production is quite simply elemental to Gulf communities.” Indeed, it is so elemental that the justice system is invested in the oil and gas industry. As TP’s Ian Millhiser has written, “Industry ties among federal judges are so widespread that they are beginning to endanger the courts’ ability to conduct routine business.

Judge who ruled against offshore drilling moratorium invests in oil industry

So, as well as everything else, even your *Justice* (sic) system has been privatized, except that it’s not been outsourced to a single company, but several. How nice. 🙂

There was this also:
Oil And Gas Industry-Funded GOP Rep Can’t Give Safety Assurances For Lifting Drilling Moratorium

And this:
Florida Encourages Saltwater Fishing As Oil Looms Off Panama City

Hope your hospitals are ready to handle lots of food poisoning emergencies.

3 JuanitaM { 06.23.10 at 11:15 am }

This judge must have a subscription to Planet BP as well.

Planet BP, where they’re all in Nineteen Eighty-Four, the thought police are in power, and double-think and new-speak are enforced.

4 Bryan { 06.23.10 at 12:32 pm }

Oh, it gets worse – the judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals [Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi] are so invested in the oil and gas industry that it is doubtful that they can put together a panel of three judges to hear the appeal of the ruling, so it will have to go to the Supreme Court through Justice Scalia, and the Supreme Court is about to adjourn until October, making an appeal moot. I doubt Scalia would stay the judge’s ruling pending appeal, and the moratorium would expire before the case could be heard.

The system is corrupt to the core.