by Michael Kunzelman
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS -- A federal appeals court has rejected the U.S. government's effort to keep a six-month deepwater drilling moratorium in place.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled soon after a Thursday afternoon hearing in a lawsuit filed by companies that oppose the drilling ban.
The Interior Department said the moratorium was necessary while it studied deepwater drilling risks in the wake of the BP oil spill.