A federal judge has ruled that the Interior Department improperly issued new safety rules after it imposed a moratorium on deep water drilling in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.
Tuesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman says the rules imposed in a June 8 notice to offshore operators can't be enforced because the government issued them without soliciting public comment.
Last month, the Interior Department announced it was replacing the June 8 safety rules with new guidelines.
Feldman struck down the Interior Department's first moratorium on deep water drilling in June, but he hasn't decided whether officials were justified in imposing a second moratorium on July 12.
The Obama administration lifted the second ban earlier this month.