Salazar loses lawsuit, American energy wins
The policies of Ken Salazar, Mr. Obama's Secretary of the Department of Interior, continue to obstruct domestic oil and gas exploration and risk shutting down domestic energy production. We already know about Mr. Salazar's crippling red-tape bottleneck that slow-walks paperwork to plague offshore drilling and production. Even though a few offshore drilling permits have been issued this year, lingering damage inflicted by the Salazar-Obama moratorium remains.
Mr. Salazar always has a new trick up his sleeve, as we see in the Deseretnews.com report on Salazar pulling leases which the Federal Government had already offered at public auction and had accepted winning bids, meaning an agreement was in place. In some places such conduct is considered a breach of contract.
With another of his tricks, Mr. Salazar imposed red tape to obstruct onshoredrilling on some federal oil and gas leases. The Western Energy Alliance sued the Federal Government, including Mr. Salazar. This time the good guys won. Ironically it was a 2009 Obama judicial nominee that ruled against the government, Nancy Freudenthal, judge for the U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming and wife of Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat who was Wyoming governor in 2009.
At issue were expedited environmental review rules allowed by the Bush administration called categorical exclusions. Generally speaking, where drilling locations already had environmental review conducted recently enough, another study was not required -- a sensible balance. But, the Salazar-imposed rules required redundant environmental studies, another stalling tactic, one of many from his Interior agency.
On Friday, August 12, the good judge threw out the Salazar rules as reported by Greg Pollowitz on National Review Online. The judge wrote that the injury suffered by the energy companies was recognizable. Chalk one up for the good guys.
John Hunt is his children's dad. His public service is to help find and produce crude oil and natural gas from privately owned lands in the USA.