A judge yesterday overturned the Obama administration’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling, complicating its efforts to improve oil industry safety after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.


The White House said it would appeal the judge’s ruling.


It came as a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that most Americans still support offshore drilling, despite watching a huge oil slick from BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill devastate fragile wetlands and communities along the U.S. Gulf coast.


The judge in Louisiana granted a request by more than a dozen oil services companies for a preliminary restraining order to prevent the Obama administration’s six-month deepwater drilling moratorium from going into effect.

President Obama had hoped the ban would provide enough time to ensure other wells were operating safely. The oil companies argued that the ban was unfair and would lead to major layoffs at a time of high unemployment.