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Obama wants judge to drop moratorium suit

NEW ORLEANS – The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to throw out part of a lawsuit challenging its moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico now that the ban’s been lifted.

A court filing Wednesday requesting the dismissal of claims filed by Ensco Offshore comes a day after the Interior Department lifted its temporary moratorium. The Justice Department says some of the company’s claims are moot.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman had overturned Interior’s initial six-month drilling ban. The department issued a new moratorium on July 12, less than three weeks after Feldman ruled the government didn’t justify the limits on existing and proposed deepwater projects.

Ensco, a company that owns and operates drilling rigs, asked Feldman to throw out the second moratorium.

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