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Conservation Law Found. of New England v. Andrus

Citation: 10 ELR 20067
No. Nos. 79-1585, -1586, 623 F.2d 712/14 ERC 1049/(1st Cir., 12/17/1979) Aff'g denial of preliminary injunction

After refusing to grant a stay, 9 ELR 20767, pending review of the district court's denial of preliminary injunctive relief against the sale of outer continental shelf oil and gas drilling leases in the Georges Bank region, 9 ELR 20764, the First Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses the appeal of the district court decision. Focusing on the question whether the district court erred in ruling that appellants were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claims under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), the court affirms the ruling below in all respects. There is no basis for appellants' concern that the sale of the leases according to the terms of the OCSLA will lead to the violation of the stricter requirements of the ESA. The standards of the two Acts can and must be applied by the Secretary of the Interiorconcurrently. The court also rejects appellants' allegation that the supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared for the lease sale was defective in eight separate respects. The supplemental EIS gave sufficient attention to the alternatives to and the environmental effects of the lease sale, and it made appropriate responses to comments received on the draft statement. The court disagrees with appellants' claim that the Secretary has violated § 21(b) of the OCSLA by failing to promulgate regulations identifying the best and safest technologies for safety and environmental protection aboard offshore drilling facilities, ruling that such regulations were not required prior to the holding of the lease sale. Finally, the court notes that the lease sale at issue in this case, like that at issue in North Slope Borough v. Andrus, 10 ELR 20054, remains the subject of litigation challenging its legality. Leases transferred in the current sale may be subject to any final determination on the merits of the pending district court action.

Counsel for Appellants Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Stephen Leonard, Jose R. Allen, Ass't Attorneys General; Francis X. Belloti, Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General, Environmental Division
1 Ashburton Place, Boston MA 12108
(617) 727-2200

Counsel for Appellants Conservation Law Foundation of New England, Inc.
Douglas I. Foy, Sarah M. Bates, Alan Wilson, Frederick Small, Kenneth W. Hoffman
3 Joy St., Boston MA 02114
(617) 742-2540

Counsel for Appellees
Maryann Walsh, Peter R. Steenland, Jr., William M. Cohen, Michael W. Reed, Patricia Young; James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2701

Counsel for Intervenors Atlantic Richfield Co. et al.
E. Edward Bruce, Mark D. Nozette
Covington & Burling
888 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 452-6126

J. Berry St. John, Jr.
Liskow & Lewis
1 Shell Square, 50th Floor, New Orleans LA 70139
(504) 581-7979

G. Marshall Moriarty
Ropes & Gray
225 Franklin St., Boston MA 02110
(617) 423-6100

Before Coffin, Campbell & Zobel*, JJ.