Judge Shortens Time for Federal Defendants to Respond to South Carolina’s Motion to Intervene in the Atlantic IHA Litigation

The State of South Carolina has moved to intervene as a plaintiff in the court challenges to NOAA/NMFS’ Marine Mammal Protection Act permits for seismic oil and gas exploration off parts of the U.S. Atlantic coast.  This litigation is in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.

The State filed its complaint along with its motion to intervene in the case. South Carolina’s complaint briefly pleads claims that other plaintiffs have made.  It also pleads several state law claims like public nuisance against the federal defendants. It also claims that NOAA/NMFS had no authority to issue the Atlantic IHA permits because President Obama had withdrawn the Atlantic from oil and gas leasing, and President Trump’s Executive Order 13795 allowing leasing in the Atlantic is “ultra vires. ”  Paradoxically, it simultaneously claims that section 13412 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which authorizes Presidential “withdrawal from disposition any of the unleased lands of the Outer Continental Shelf,” violates the U.S. Constitution because it “violates separation of powers in that it delegates to the President authority expressly reserved to Congress.”

The State’s complaint is available here.




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