The Obama administration says it is complying with a judge's ruling overturning a moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf - so a motion to enforce the order by opponents of the moratorium should be denied.
The Justice Department says in court papers that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has instructed all employees to not take any action to enforce the moratorium. It also says the department is sending letters to operators who received notices of suspension that those notices have no legal effect at this time.
The government is seeking a delay in the ruling overturning the moratorium while it appeals the decision. The moratorium had halted approval of any new permits for deep water projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman rejected that request and has refused to stay his ruling while the government appeals to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Tuesday, he struck down the Interior Department's decision to halt approval of new permits for deepwater projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells.
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