Kate Mackenzie Moratorium judge owned offshore drilling shares

The judge who granted an injunction against the six-month moratorium on deepwater US oil and gas drilling held shares in Transocean and other companies involved in offshore drilling.

A financial disclosure report published by JudicialWatch (‘a conservative, non-partisan education foundation’) showed that Martin Feldman, the Louisiana federal judge who made the ruling, earned dividends from an investment in Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP.

The filing, which related to the calendar year 2008, also mentions holdings bought in other companies involved in offshore oil and gas drilling (though not deepwater Gulf of Mexico necessarily) such as Hercules Offshore and Parker Drilling. Several other energy companies are also listed. A holding in Halliburton, another company involved in the Deepwater Horizon operation, had been sold during the year. The judge also owned shares in many non-energy companies in the period covered.

The FT notes that shares in offshore drilling companies rose on the ruling, and that Feldman’s office declined to comment on the JudicialWatch document.

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that 37 of the 64 federal judges active or senior judges in the Gulf Coast districts of Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Florida have links to oil, gas or related industries.

In any case, the administration has vowed to appeal the ruling, and to possibly tighten restrictions on deepwater drilling.