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Feds accused of ignoring judge's drill ban ruling

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Several companies say the Obama administration is ignoring a judge's decision to strike down a six-month ban on deepwater drilling.

After the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, the Interior Department halted approval of any new permits for deepwater projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman overturned that ban Tuesday. Hours later, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he would impose a new moratorium. He hasn't provided more details.

Attorneys for the oilfield service companies said in court papers Wednesday that Salazar's comments have had a chilling effect on the resumption of drilling.

Several major oil companies say they'll wait to start drilling again until the Obama administration appeals the ruling.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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