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Judge Who Ruled on Deepwater Drilling Has Investments in Transocean

The US District Judge who today overturned President Obama’s six-month moratorium on off-shore drilling appears to have substantial personal investments in the oil and gas industry — and even owns stock in Transocean, the company that owned the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig — according to his 2008 financial disclosure report, the most recent year available on the website of the group Judicial Watch.

Judge Martin Feldman’s Financial Disclosure Report for calendar year 2008 lists investments in energy and gas companies including offshore drilling firm Transocean; Parker Drilling Company, which “provides offshore and onshore contract drilling and drilling-related services”; and several different funds managed by Blackrock, an investment banking firm with a heavy concentration in the energy industry. In 2008, Judge Feldman sold, at a profit, shares in Hercules Offshore, “a leading provider of offshore contract drilling, liftboat and inland barge services with operations in ten countries on four continents,” as well as Halliburton.

Environmental groups reacted with dismay to Judge Feldman’s ruling while White House spokesman Robert Gibbs pledged that the Obama administration would appeal the decision. Oil and gas companies, not surprisingly, were thrilled with the Judge Feldman’s conclusion that “the blanket moratorium, with no parameters, seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger.”

CNN reports that Transocean President Steve Newman said Tuesday that he supported ending the moratorium. Given the fact that Transocean will likely profit from the ruling, the judge’s investments represent a clear conflict of interest in the case.

Justice served??

Jason MarkJason Mark photo
Jason Mark is the Editor in Chief of SIERRA, the national magazine of the Sierra Club, and the author of Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man. From 2007 to 2015 he was the Editor of Earth Island Journal.

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