Judge Marty’s investment hump is showing
Yesterday, US District Court Judge Martin “Marty” Feldman issued a preliminary injunction against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar‘s drilling moratorium against 33 deep water exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico. A moratorium that effects less than 1% of the producing wells in the GOM, obviously a blow to local businesses of epic proportions.
So, in short, Feldman correctly sets the standards he must follow in his review, and then blows by and around every one of them. Feldman in one breath, and out of one side of his mouth says “the Court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the agency” and then in the next breath, and talking out the other side of his mouth does just that. Feldman may not agree with the basis for the administrative action here, he may not like it, but it is simply unfathomable that he can say there is no supporting evidence whatsoever such that there is no “rational connection” of the agency decision to the facts. It is simply absurd.
So, and I really do not like asking or suggesting these kind of questions, ever, but here it has to be done. What else could have been behind this bunk decision? Well, for one, Judge Feldman’s disclosures indicate he is invested in and tied to Transocean and Ocean Energy concerns, among others, which certainly ought to raise a red flag.
Or at least a big hump. Those “among others” companies that Feldman, a Reagan appointee, has been invested in include the following (as compiled by Thinkprogress.org):
BlackRock ($12000- $36000)
Ocean Energy ($1000 – $2500)
NGP Capital Resources ($1000 – $2500)
Quicksilver Resources ($5000 – $15000)
Hercules Offshore ($6000 – $17500)
Atlas Energy Resources
EV Energy Partners
El Paso Corp
ATP Oil & Gas
To quote Judge Feldman’s alter ego Igor: Hump? What hump?
bmaz offers a second disturbing (political) possibility concerning the sincerity of the Obama Administration’s objection to the ruling, but we need not go there at the moment. Pending is a couple of actions that the Administration is said to be mounting: a new order being written by Salazar that addresses the specifics of Feldman’s objections; and an appeal of the ruling to the Fifth District Appellate Court (itself awash in oil money).
UPDATE: Meanwhile, the psychological toll of BP’s criminality is starting to manifest itself.
“I hate to say it, but I’m surprised something like this hasn’t already happened.” This, tragically, was the death by suicide of a charter boat captain hired by BP to take part in oil leak cleanup or protection efforts in the gulf.
The quote comes from Jason Bell, who worked for William Allen “Rookie” Kruse, 55, for three years as a deckhand and pilot. Kruse put a bullet  through his head this morning at a marina in Fort Morgan, Alabama. His boat was about to launch today and he was reportedly upset with the oil leak, the cleanup efforts and loss of income, and wondering how he would be paid for taking part in the Vessel of Opportunity program.
The local coroner ruled that the gunshot was self-inflicted. Kruse was found right on the captain’s bridge. He had no known health problems.