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Supreme Court refuses to hear drilling moratorium case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court won’t decide if the Obama administration violated a judge’s order that struck down its temporary moratorium on deep water drilling after BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The high court today refused to hear an appeal from offshore service companies that challenged the moratorium.

A federal judge overturned the Interior Department’s decision to halt new permits for deep water projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 workers and triggered the massive spill. But the agency issued a second nearly identical suspension, leading the judge to issue a civil contempt finding.

But a federal appeals court concluded Interior officials took steps to avoid the effect of the injunction but didn’t violate it.

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