As the price of oil skyrockets, the Obama administration fights to stop oil drilling in the US

The Obama administration seems to be doing everything that it possibly can to stop oil drilling.

The Obama administration has fired another shot in the fight over the speed with which the Interior Department is — or isn’t — letting oil drillers resume work in the Gulf of Mexico after last year’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

The administration late Friday appealed a judge’s orders directing the department to act on several pending Gulf Coast deep-water drilling permits.

Gulf state lawmakers and the oil industry have accused the department of dragging its feet on the permits, enacting a de facto moratorium against new drilling, while the department has said it needs to ensure that safety and environmental protections are in place.

Friday’s appeal challenges rulings by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who on Feb. 17 gave the department 30 days to make a verdict on five pending deep-water drilling permit applications. He later added two permits to that order.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hinted at the appeal during a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Feldman “in my view is wrong,” Salazar said. “And we will argue the case because I don’t believe that the court has the jurisdiction to basically tell the Department of the Interior what my administrative responsibilities are.” . . .

Meanwhile, the price of oil has gone up dramatically.

U.S. gasoline prices increased nearly 33 cents in two weeks, the second-biggest two-week jump in the history of the gasoline market, according to a new survey of filling stations.
The latest Lundberg Survey of cities in the continental United States was conducted Friday. It showed the national average for a price of self-serve unleaded gasoline at $3.51, an increase of 32.7 cents from the last survey two weeks earlier, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said.
The jump was the biggest since a 38-cent hike between August and September 2005. At the time, the price increase was driven by damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. . . .



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