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Aug 16, 2010 6:40 PM

Appeals Court Postpones Hearing on Drilling Ban

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal appeals court has postponed its Sept. 1 hearing on an overturned six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling because the panel is seeking more information about the government's new temporary drilling ban.

A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ordered a lower court to explore some of the differences, if any, between the Obama administration's May 28 and July 12 moratoriums.

The Interior Department issued the new moratorium after U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman overturned the initial moratorium.

The government asked the 5th Circuit to review Feldman's ruling, but the appeals court said it couldn't rule on that appeal without more information about the new moratorium.

Lawyers for several offshore service companies claim the second moratorium is identical to the first and was designed to circumvent Feldman's order.

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