Federal judge orders U.S. government to act on six permits for deepwater drilling in Gulf of Mexico within 30 days; U.S. already issued permits for three applications that were part of original lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS , May 10, 2011 () – A federal judge has given the Obama administration 30 days to act on six permits for deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman on Tuesday ruled on a lawsuit filed by Ensco Offshore Co. and others. He rejected Interior Department arguments that the issue was moot because it already has resumed issuing permits following the moratorium that was imposed last year after the massive BP oil spill.

Three permit applications in the original lawsuit have been granted.

But Feldman said the government's issuing of what he called "a scant few applications" does not provide the certainty Ensco needs to conduct its business in the Gulf. He said the law required the six remaining Ensco-related applications to be acted on within a reasonable period.

© 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.