Landrieu urges White House to reconsider appeal

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told The Hill that the White House should reconsider its plan to appeal a court decision that blocked a federal ban on deepwater offshore drilling.

A federal judge on Tuesday granted an injunction against the administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater wells, which the Interior Department imposed in the wake of the BP oil spill.

The senator, an ally of her state's oil-and-gas industry and who strongly opposes the drilling freeze, called the decision "very sound" but added she needed to review it in detail.

"We have tried to explain to the administration and argue as forcefully as we can that this [the moratorium] is an overreach and it is unecessary," she said.

"There are only 33 deepwater rigs drilling in the Gulf. A better strategy would be to do targeted, strategic safety checks, then let them go on and drill the oil and gas that's needed," Landrieu added in a short interview in the Capitol.

Federal Judge Martin Feldman wrote in his decision that the administration's decision to ban drilling was likely "arbitrary and capricious" and would do "irreparable harm" to companies and individuals' livelihoods. Feldman granted a preliminary injunction against the moratorium's effects.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration would immediately appeal the decision.

— Michael O'Brien contributed to this post.