June 23, 2010 / 7:51 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Oil firms want ruling lifting drill ban enforced

(Adds details from request)

WASHINGTON, June 23 (Reuters) - Hornbeck Offshore Services (HOS.N) and other companies that won an injunction blocking a six-month U.S. moratorium on deepwater drilling have asked thejudge to enforce his ruling after an Obama administration official said he would try to keep the ban in place.

In a federal court in New Orleans on Tuesday, Judge Martin Feldman granted an injunction blocking the moratorium on the grounds that it was too broad, arbitrary and not sufficiently justified despite the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama officials said they would quickly appeal but have yet to do so, or request a stay of the ruling pending the appeal.

Additionally, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Wednesday he would try to reformulate the moratorium and would include criteria for ending it, prompting the request by Hornbeck and the other companies.

“Secretary Salazar’s comments have the obvious effect of chilling the resumption of OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) activities, which is precisely the wrong this court sought to redress through its preliminary injunction order,” the companies said in their request to Feldman filed on Wednesday.

Obama administration officials “have chosen to ignore and disobey it,” they said.

They asked Feldman to order the administration to “refrain and cease and desist from any additional effort to continue their enforcement of the moratorium.”

The companies asked the judge to hold an emergency hearing as soon as possible.

The initial moratorium suspended work on 33 rigs while a presidential commission examined what caused the explosion and resulting oil spill on April 20 aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig and determined what new safety measures are needed. (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Todd Eastham)

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