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Judge Martin Feldman: Oil Drilling Safety Rules Improperly Issued By Interior Department After Gulf Spill

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NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has ruled that the Interior Department improperly issued new safety rules after it imposed a moratorium on deep water drilling in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.

Tuesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman says the rules imposed in a June 8 notice to offshore operators can't be enforced because the government issued them without soliciting public comment.

Last month, the Interior Department announced it was replacing the June 8 safety rules with new guidelines.

Feldman struck down the Interior Department's first moratorium on deep water drilling in June, but he hasn't decided whether officials were justified in imposing a second moratorium on July 12.

The Obama administration lifted the second ban earlier this month.

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