The issue before the Eleventh Circuit concerned a challenge to an exploratory drilling plan under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OSCLA). The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved the Shell Exploration Plan S-7444 (Shell EP) to conduct drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The Plan covered ten exploratory wells on offshore Alabama leases in the central Gulf. This case was a consolidated appeal in which Petitioners the Defenders of Wildlife, the Gulf Restoration Network and others filed comments on the Shell EP, participated in the ancillary administrative proceedings, and then filed a petition with the Court for review. The only issues for the Court's review were whether the Shell EP violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After review of the parties' briefs and the record below, the Court denied the petition for review, finding the BOEM's decision to approve the Shell EP was not arbitrary or capricious and instead, "reflected the agency's balance of environmental concerns with the expeditious and orderly exploration of resources in the Gulf of Mexico." View "Defenders of Wildlife, et al v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Managem, et al" on Justia Law
Posted in: Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Environmental Law, Government & Administrative Law, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
The Georgia Parties, Gwinnett County, Georgia, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) appealed from a grant of summary judgment in this consolidated suit arising from more than 20 years of litigation between the parties. All of the underlying cases related to the Corps' authority to operate the Buford Dam and Lake Lanier, the reservoir it created, for local water supply. On appeal, the parties raised several jurisdictional matters and asserted a number of substantive claims. The court held that the district court erred in finding that it had jurisdiction to hear certain parties because the Corps had not taken final agency action. The court also held that the district court and the Corps erred in concluding that water supply was not an authorized purpose of the Buford Project under the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA), Pub. L. No. 79-525, 60 Stat. 634. The court also held that the district court erred in finding that the 1956 Act expired after 50 years. The court also provided certain instructions to the Corps on remand and the Corps shall have one year to make a final determination of its authority to operate the Buford Project under the RHA and the Water Supply Act, 43 U.S.C. 390b(a).
Posted in: Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Environmental Law, Government & Administrative Law, Military Law, Real Estate & Property Law, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Zoning, Planning & Land Use