This ruling is potentially a Godsend to the Obama Administration on a level with Joe Barton’s “apology.” Any opportunity to act aggressively against oil spills ought to be gratefully grasped.
Every one of those deep-water permits was issued in response to an application that included a plan for dealing with a blow-out. The BP fiasco demonstrated that those plans weren’t worth the paper they were printed on, even before the oil execs admitted they’d just Xeroxed them all from the same worthless source. (Listing a biologist who’s been dead for several years as a key resource was sort of a give-away.)
So if the permits can’t be revoked en bloc, why not revoke them one-by-one? It’s certainly not arbitrary or capricious to say that the drillers shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead and run the risk of accidents they don’t know to either prevent or cure, or continue to be rewarded for filing fraudulent documents.
And unless the (petroleum-soaked) Fifth Circuit steps in right away, why not a legislative fix? I’d love to see the Senate Republicans filibustering on behalf of the oil companies.