The federal judge who recently blocked the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling obviously decided that in the end, cents overruled sense.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman declared that the government "rashly concluded" that all rigs could put us and the environment into immediate danger, just because one oil rig failed.
"What seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened on the Deepwater Horizon into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all Gulf deepwater drilling activities put us in a universal threat of irreparable harm," Feldman wrote.
The failure rate by oil rigs — be them deepwater or shallow water — is most likely a very tiny percentage of the overall number in operation. I'm sure Feldman accurately calculated exactly what that diminutive percentage is and it became a vital factoid in his decision to rule against the moratorium.
But while his math skills are most likely very sound and he correctly came up with the low number, the failure lies in how the judge interpreted the datum and then used it to state his decision. It does not matter that it's one oil rig failure out of 10,000 or one out of a million — it's that it happened at all.
And we can't stop it. Sixty seven million to 127 million gallons of crude oil have spewed out of the broken pipe at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Just in his decision-making process alone, thousands more spilled into the water. It's an outrageous number that continues to grow.
Since this entire toxic, greasy mess is a deadly threat to all the flora and fauna of the region — a region that now stretches from Texas to Florida and beyond - that makes it ONE oil rig failure too many.