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BP Gulf Judge Martin Feldman’s Oil Stocks

by | 24th, June 2010

THE BP oil is still spilling in to the Gulf of Mexio. Obama is looking at matters in Afghanistan. Obama’s sacked General Stanley McChrystal for talking to Rolling Stone magazine before Michelle and the kidzz got their photo montage and cover. But the press is looking at Judge Martin Feldman. Tim Worstall looks too:

The judge who overturned deepwater drilling bans allowing BP to resume oilTransocean and other firms in the industry, it was revealed today.

Yesterday, a Louisiana-based judge Martin Feldman ruled that Barack Obama’s six-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf was unjustified because it assumed that all deepwater drilling was as dangerous as BP’s.

The White House promised an immediate appeal.

Meanwhile environmental groups have said Feldman’s ruling may have to be rescinded because of the possible conflict of interests.

Hmm.

So, have a look at his financial disclosure form.

I’ve not worked right through it but some 10 positions seem to be in oil and or gas companies. Out of 141 different positions that the guy had (including buys and sells in the period).

Looks to me like a fairly well balanced investment portfolio actually: the guy’s getting on a bit and it’s heavy in bonds. Just about all of the positions are under $15k (you get a code not an actual amount).

For someone who lives and works in an oil and gas producing area I certainly don’t see that he’s suspiciouly heavy on stocks in the sector.

This call is a bit like insisting that a UK judge not hear a mortgage reposession case because he’s got £5k’s worth of Barclay’s shares in an ISA.

I agree, if it turned out that he had millions in Transocean stock, or if a large and significant portion of his net worth was in oil and gas explorers, there might be a case.

But this looks very much like the greenies trying it on. In a large and complex economy anyone with (properly and rightly so) a widely diversified investment portfolio will get caught by having some connection or other to most things.

The test is, in these things, a “significant” holding, isn’t it? Significant meaning “large enough to change his mind”? Large enough meaning either large or a large enough piece of the total?

TW; image



Posted: 24th, June 2010 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink