US appeals judge's order on drilling permits

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The Associated Press
Saturday, March 5, 2011; 9:21 AM

NEW ORLEANS -- The Obama administration has appealed a judge's order requiring regulators to act on seven drilling permit applications.

The government filed court documents late Friday saying it may have to deny the applications if regulators must make a decision within 30 days as ordered. The order was issued by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who overturned the administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling after BP PLC's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The documents say the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement may not have enough time to help operators meet regulatory requirements to have the permits approved by the deadline.

Feldman ruled last month that the government must act on five applications within 30 days. On Tuesday, Feldman said his ruling also applies to two other permits.

© 2011 The Associated Press

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