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Obama’s War on the West: Another judge rebukes job-killing rogue Interior Department; Update: ruling added

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 13, 2011 11:34 AM

Since day one of the Obama administration, I’ve chronicled Loathsome Cowboy Ken Salazar’s War on the West, War on Jobs, and War on Science/Rule of Law as head of the Interior Department. His eco-radical sidekick Carol Browner is gone, yet Salazar remains in place. Federal judge after federal judge has spanked Salazar and Obama’s job-destroying eco-nitwits for lawlessly and fraudulently imposing their junk-science drilling ban . Salazar spearheaded the pulling of scores of oil leases by invoking bogus eco-claims and has presided over an expansive land grab through administrative fiat.

Yesterday, yet another federal judge smacked Obama/Salazar and the US Forest Service over their onerous drilling regulations in a lawsuit brought by the Western Energy Alliance:

A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said.

The government argued that oil and gas companies had no case because they didn’t show how the new rules, implemented by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service last year, had created delays and added to the cost of drilling.

Freudenthal rejected that argument.

“Western Energy has demonstrated through its members recognizable injury,” she said. “Those injuries are supported by the administrative record.”

Congress had mandated the expedited review process that Obama/Salazar ignored in order to encourage American oil and natural gas development where the impact is minimal and/or where environmental analysis has already been conducted. Salazar’s Interior Department steamrolled over the congressional requirement and curtailed the expedited reviews without a formal process and public comment period.

Freudenthal was appointed to the federal bench not by Reagan or Bush…but by Barack Obama. Which makes the rejection of the White House’s claim that it did no harm to the economy all the more noteworthy:

“Those injuries are supported by the administrative record.”

Mark those words.

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I’ve uploaded the full decision in pdf form. Click right here.

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