Right now, oil has everyone talking “moratorium.” What does it mean?

After the massive gulf oil spill on April 20th, the Obama Administration imposed a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling and suspended existing efforts. Today, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans overturned the moratorium, citing “the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region” and more.

It’s no coincidence that the judge’s decision invokes finances. The term derives from the Latin moratorius, “to delay,”  and enters English as “a legal authorization to a debtor to postpone payment for a certain time.”  Later, the more general sense of  any “suspension of activity” becomes common.

The psychologist Erik Erikson extended the meaning of the word to human emotions. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a moratorium can also be “a period of delay before an adolescent’s final commitment to a mature adult identity.”

Whether or not you think the judge’s decision to lift the drilling moratorium is mature is up to you.


  1. wolf tamer and coal miner -  February 9, 2014 - 10:23 pm

    “Moratorium” was one of my vocabulary words last week.

  2. lolzerz -  January 27, 2011 - 5:46 am

    Oil is dinosaurs. the pressure combined with heat turned them into oil. I like dinosaurs so can we stop draining them from mother earth???

  3. MORATORIUM | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 16, 2010 - 11:01 am

    [...] “MORATORIUM” on moratoriums should be taken up by the Organization of Organizations in a very big Auditorium [...]

  4. Jeevendra -  June 24, 2010 - 7:24 am

    Oil is important; accepted. But what about the nature. If things go on like this, will there be an earth for future generations. We humans have abused nature for a long, taking it for granted. Ultimately, nature will emerge victorious, whether we like it or not.

  5. Anonymister -  June 22, 2010 - 3:51 pm

    What’s more important? Sacrificing 100 families to save a million families? Or to save those 100 families and ruin everyone’s elses? Sometimes, we must choose the lesser evil.

  6. Don -  June 22, 2010 - 3:35 pm

    I agree with the judge. The situation needs to be looked into, but starving people while we do it isn’t the way.

  7. Lee -  June 22, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    Think about the long term effect people!

  8. Todd -  June 22, 2010 - 3:01 pm

    I think there is a large element of confusion in the discussion. Who ever said if “oil drilling ends that all oil-related employees will be out of a job”? Essentially oil workers are employed by a corporation. If the latter began engaging in renewable energy and employed the same people, then these rig workers would still have a job, and, further environmental disasters could be abated.

    Expunging the environment does not equal long term economic security for individuals and/or families. It’s like counting on Money Mart or a loan shark for your livelihood.

  9. Cristian -  June 22, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    Honestly? A paycheck? These workers should be looking to BP for reparations while they seek employment elsewhere. There is no way to justify destroying our environment and millions of innocent creatures just so you can earn a paycheck. What good is your paycheck going to be when we do not have a habitable world to live in?

    If the workers are upset, they should file a class action lawsuit against BP. We need to invest in, expand upon existing, and create alternative fuel sources. Mother earth, and the population of our planet minus these oil workers are protesting such wreckless apathetic and avaricious practices as deepwater drilling. I think this outnumbers the employee base of the greedy oil companies.

  10. Evan Drury -  June 22, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    The bottom line is you can look back at history and say that we used X amount of oil uselessly on this, this, and this, but that’s not the reason why we need oil on such a mass scale today. In the end, a single pump can only produce so much oil, and only so much of the stuff can be stock piled. The reason why we need to KEEP drilling is because we’re a fossil fuel dependent society (for decades now), and as other countries mature, such as China, and our population over all grows, that demand keeps escalating due to more people wanting the “North American” way of life.

    Thankfully though, North America, Japan, and other countries are also leading the way in alternative fuels. Although it’s idealistic to say, “Let’s stop drilling tomorrow,” the reality is that efforts should instead be poured into these alternatives until an ultimate solution is found, and only then will we be able to start reducing the amount of oil wells.

  11. BELLA -  June 22, 2010 - 2:53 pm

    This is a list of “some” of the products made from oil. Nearly everything in our lives is made from oil, made by machinery and systems dependent on oil, and transported by oil as either gas or diesel fuel.

    Ammonia, Anesthetics, Antihistamines, Artificial limbs, Artificial Turf, Antiseptics, Aspirin, Auto Parts, Awnings, Balloons, Ballpoint pens, Bandages, Beach Umbrellas, Boats, Cameras, Candles, Car Battery Cases, Carpets, Caulking, Combs, Cortisones, Cosmetics, Crayons, Credit Cards, Curtains, Deodorants, Detergents, Dice, Disposable Diapers, Dolls, Hair Dyes, Eye Glasses, Electrical Wiring Insulation, Faucet Washers, Fishing Rods, Fishing Line, Fishing Lures, Food Preservatives, Food Packaging, Garden Hose, Glue, Hair Coloring, Hair Curlers, Hand Lotion, Hearing Aids, Heart Valves, Ink, Insect Repellant, Insecticides, Linoleum, Lip Stick, Milk Jugs, Nail Polish, Oil Filters, Panty Hose, Perfume, Petroleum Jelly, Rubber Cement, Rubbing Alcohol, Shampoo, Shaving Cream, Shoes, Toothpaste, Trash Bags, Upholstery, Vitamin Capsules, Water Pipes, Yarn

    Think about it…..Can you live without oil?

  12. colorado chris -  June 22, 2010 - 2:26 pm

    Paychecks are important, but like the people of Easter Island, who raped their environment right up until it killed them, a paycheck won’t help you find food when the fish are all gone. I think in the long run, finding an alternative to deepwater oil production, and the disastrous effects that result from the mistakes that are bound to happen, is more important. Think long-term, people.

  13. Chris -  June 22, 2010 - 1:57 pm

    Yes, a paycheck is life to those living in the gulf. Allowing them to do their jobs and provide for their families is the responsible decision. Increasing security measures? By all means, but starving hard working families because of a corporation’s mistakes? Bad choice.

  14. Vineet -  June 22, 2010 - 1:53 pm

    I stand in favour with the judge. and i agree with Barbara that paycheck is very important for those families whose only source of income is Oil Rig.

  15. Alan Turner -  June 22, 2010 - 1:39 pm

    It’s obvious, we are using too much oil and have been for most of the 20th century. How much we wasted in fighting wars we just don’t know. If we hadn’t wasted it then we would not have the oil disaster now. That would be for the people who follow us into this world at a later date. Which ever way, it was bound to happen some time. It is called ‘shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted’

  16. Brett -  June 22, 2010 - 1:24 pm

    A paycheck is the correct answer.

  17. Barbara -  June 22, 2010 - 1:12 pm

    I am sure that “paycheck” is very important to those families who rely on those oil rigs to earn a living.

  18. Kathlen -  June 22, 2010 - 1:04 pm

    Whats more important? Our environment, our WORLD, or a paycheck?

  19. tasteoffreedom@cablenet.com -  June 22, 2010 - 12:53 pm

    For one time in my life a judge has done something for liberty and not abused the position. I pray for the livelyhoods of the working families who make their hard living on those rigs. God bless.


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