Court enters judgment on GoM drilling permit suit

The US Department of the Interior “acted unlawfully by unreasonably delaying action” on permit requests from ATP Oil & Gas Corp. according to the Final Judgment issued by the US District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – The US Department of the Interior “acted unlawfully by unreasonably delaying action” on permit requests from ATP Oil & Gas Corp. according to the Final Judgment issued by the US District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The suit that resulted in this judgment concerned two permits that were submitted by ATP, but not acted on within 30 days. The permits were approved, but not until more than five months after the federal GoM drilling moratorium was lifted.

In its judgment, the Court said, “Court wrote that, "The thirty-day timeline is reasonable, in part because the government has failed to establish that the individual permit applications pending in this case individually require more (or less) care. The Court has repeatedly acknowledged that some delays are understandable in a more regulated environment, but that now, over a year after theDeepwater Horizon tragedy, delays must reach some end. Without evidence showing otherwise, a thirty-day timeline derived from the statute and past practices remains reasonable. And as this Court has previously explained, thirty days seems to have Congress's acknowledgment as reasonable within the statutory plan.”

The originating court action was by ATP and also Ensco Offshore Co.

05/24/2011

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