NGOs have sued the Federal Government in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. They claim that BOEM violated NEPA, the ESA, and the APA when BOEM decided to move forward with oil and gas Lease Sale 216/222 in the Gulf of Mexico based on a 2012 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and without first concluding ongoing reinitiated consultation under the ESA. The Plaintiffs also challenge Lease Sale 218, based solely upon their ESA argument. Finally, the Plaintiffs contend that NMFS has unreasonably delayed completion of the ongoing reinitiated consultation under the ESA, in violation of the APA.
The American Petroleum Institute has intervened on the side of the Government. API recently filed a brief opposing the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment and supporting API’s own Motion for Summary Judgment. The API brief summarizes its arguments as follows:
“Plaintiffs’ legal challenges lack merit, and founder on, among other things, the extensive record of environmental review by the agency, the fundamental structure of offshore oil and gas leasing dictated by Congress, and—particularly with respect to the ESA—a recent and resounding rejection by another federal district court of Plaintiffs’ analogous challenge to a different oil and gas lease sale. The Department of the Interior’s actions and findings, to which the judiciary owes considerable deference, accordingly satisfied the agency’s obligations under NEPA, the ESA, and the APA.”
Click here to read API’s brief.