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California v. Watt

Citation: 12 ELR 21045
No. Nos. CV 82-2284-CHH, -2665-CHH, (C.D. Cal., 06/09/1982)

The court enjoins the Secretary of the Interior from leasing oil and gas tracts off the California coast pending compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The court concludes that California has demonstrated a strong probability of success on the merits of its claim that the Secretary violated § 307(c)(1) of the CZMA by failing to determine whether the sale is consistent with the state coastal zone management plan. In addition, plaintiffs may suffer irreparable harm if Lease Sale No. 68 is not enjoined because a consistency determination will never be made. The court also concludes that California raised a serious question as to the Secretary's compliance with § 19 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The Secretary failed to provide an explanation to California of the basis for the decision and to adequately consider the economic impact of the sale on coastal communities. However, the environmental impact statement for the sale complies with the National Environmental Policy Act. The court also rules that the Sierra Club does not have standing under § 307(c)(1) of the CZMA or § 19 of the OCSLA because its alleged injury does not fall within the zone of interests protected by those sections. However, plaintiff municipalities have standing under § 10 of the Administrative Procedure Act and the CZMA.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
John A. Saurenman
Office of the Attorney General
3580 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 736-2046

Counsel for Defendants
Carol E. Dinkins, Ass't Attorney General; Peter R. Steenland Jr., Anne S. Almy
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4427

Gary Fisher
Office of the Solicitor
Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240
(202) 343-5757