http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/07/08/oil.dr ... tml?hpt=T2
New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- A federal appeals panel on Thursday upheld a district judge's order to block the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a brief ruling just a few hours after the hearing, the three-judge appellate panel denied the government's request to reinstate the moratorium while the full appeal of the case continues.
The government declared the moratorium in response to the April 20 explosion and fire on a deepwater rig that led to the Gulf oil disaster, with millions of gallons gushing into the ocean and oil giant BP unable to stop it.
Oil companies, Gulf state politicians and local residents opposed the moratorium, saying it was unnecessary and further harmed a regional economy still reeling from Hurricane Katrina.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, which halted all drilling in more than 500 feet of water and prevented new permits from being issued. The government appealed the ruling and asked for an emergency stay of Feldman's decision while the case continued.
On Thursday, the appellate panel of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the government's request, saying it had "failed to demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable injury if the stay is not granted."