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Get Oil Out! v. Andrus

Citation: 9 ELR 20126
No. No. CV-78-1721-HP, 468 F. Supp. 82/12 ERC 2084/(C.D. Cal., 01/11/1979) Injunction issued

The court enjoins further work on the installation of two oil drilling and production platforms in the Sanata Barbara Channel until the Department of the Interior complies with the National Environmental Policy Act by providing a statement of reasons for its determination that a site-specific environmental impact statement (EIS) need not be prepared for each platform. In approving development plans for three platforms in the channel, defendants relied upon environmental assessments which simply asserted the absence of significant impacts and referred to earlier programmatic EISs concerning oil and gas development in the channel. The court rules that it need not review the agency's determination of no significant adverse environmental impact because the matter must be remanded to the Department of the Interior to correct procedural defects in the administrative process. The environmental assessments do not contain an adequate statement of reasons detailing the agency's rationale for its conclusion of no significant impact, and on remand the Interior Department must therefore add a statement of reasons explaining its determinations that adverse environmental consequences will be insignificant. The agency must also give the public an opportunity to comment on the revised environmental assessments, which along with the public comments and any agency responses are to be filed with the court. Since the conditional approval of the development plan for the third platform has been revoked by the agency, it is premature to act on it, and defendants' motion for summary judgment on claims relating to this platform is granted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Geoffrey Cowan, John R. Phillips
10203 Santa Monica Blvd., 5th floor, Los Angeles CA 90067
(213) 472-6495

Bruce J. Terris, Edward H. Comer
1526 18th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 332-1882

Counsel for Defendants
William Cohen
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2775

Charles S. Findlay
Office of the Solicitor
Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240
(202) 343-4325

Philip K. Verleger, Betty-Jane Kirwan, Dana Levitt
McCutchen, Black, Verleger & Shea
3435 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 381-3411