Hornbeck Offshore Services, L.L.C. v. Salazar
Citation: 42 ELR 20245
No. 11-30936, (5th Cir., 11/27/2012)
The Fifth Circuit held that DOI did not violate a district court order preliminarily enjoining enforcement of a drilling moratorium following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico by issuing a second drilling ban. Shortly after the spill, at the president's direction, DOI prohibited for six months all new and existing oil and gas drilling operations on the outer continental shelf. A district court preliminarily enjoined enforcement of the moratorium, but DOI then issued a second moratorium that essentially reinstated the six-month ban. The district court found that DOI was in contempt for violating its order. But while the district court was correct that DOI immediately took steps to avoid the effect of the injunction, there is no clear and convincing evidence that DOI's actions after the injunction violated the clear terms of the injunction as drafted. Therefore, there was no civil contempt.