After the very controversial ruling to lift the 6 month moratorium on deep water drilling Judge Martin Feldman has been lambasted as a Big Oil puppet. And now some people are asking the question did Feldman have a conflict of interest? Most news agencies immediately began calling attention to Feldman’s financial earning reported in 2008. According to judgepedia.org Feldman in 2008 had holdings in BlackRock ($12000- $36000); Ocean Energy ($1000 – $2500); NGP Capital Resources ($1000 – $2500); Quicksilver Resources ($5000 – $15000); Hercules Offshore ($6000 – $17500); Provident Energy; Peabody Energy; PenGrowth Energy; RPC Inc; Atlas Energy Resources; Parker Drilling; TXCO Resources; EV Energy Partners; Rowan Companies; BPZ Resources; El Paso Corp; KBR Inc; Chesapeake Energy and ATP Oil & Gas. However also according to Judgepedia.org Feldman had sold these holding long before he ruled.
this was quoted on the site in defense of Judge Feldman. “The Judge was blasted for owning stock in Transocean, Ltd and Halliburton, two of the major companies involved in the Deep-water Horizon disaster. Feldman owned those stocks in 2008; however, he sold those shares long before issuing his ruling this week. In fact, this updated information will be released in the next report on his stock holdings.
“If Feldman held financial interests in any of companies involved in the lawsuit or the Deep-water Horizon rig, he would not have been allowed the take the case. The 5th District Court uses a sophisticated computer system to check whether judges have a conflict of interest in any legal proceeding. This system automatically determines whether a judge needs to be rescued from a particular case. In this lawsuit, Feldman was allowed to take the case because he did not own any stock related to the parties involved.”
So we may not know exactly when he sold his stock in these companies if he truly did. Nor may we never know how much his ruling will have affect his near future investments. But even if Feldman is on the up and up, that does not get him get him off the hook for making such a terrible misguided ruling. We expect our judges and elected officials to be of reasonable intelligence. Its that simple. So either Feldman had something personal to gain or he’s incompetent either are grounds for an impeachment. In the judges own words “If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy handed and rather overbearing”. Feldman tried to use logic and failed miserably. Deep Water Horizon wasn’t felled by lightening or other forces of nature, it wasn’t an engineering design flaw. It was years of neglect and oversight abuses. Within the Government and BP and Transocean. We all know that BP’s entire environmental impact and emergency contingency plans were all fabricated. If one of them did it and got away with it for years, how can we be sure others haven’t done the same? Not to mention as BP has demonstrated and Exxon, Texaco and any other oil company that testified to congress has no plan or proven method of dealing with a deep water blow out. We now the risk is low, but we know its not zero, and we know the cost should another one occur. Feldmans logic sends those people back to work, but they are going back to work in the exact same environment that caused this mess in the first place. So should Feldman be impeached?