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California v. Watt

Citation: 11 ELR 20565
No. Nos. CV81-2080-MRP, -2081-MRP, (C.D. Cal., 05/27/1981) Temporary relief granted

The court enjoins the Secretary of the Interior from accepting or rejecting bids or issuing leases in connection with certain tracts of Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale No. 53 off the coast of California. The court finds that plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on the merits with respect to claims based on the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. However, plaintiffs do have a very strong probability of success on the merits with respect to the claim that the Secretary improperly refused to apply the consistency provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) to the final notice for the lease sale. The legislative history of §307(c)(1) clearly indicates that pre-lease activities are subject to the consistency requirements of the Act. In addition, exclusion of the state of California from the decisionmaking process in violation of the CZMA constitutes irreparable harm to the state once leasing occurs. further, the potential harm to defendants from the brief delay in proceeding with he proposed lease sale is not substantial. Thus, the court finds that it is in the public interest to grant a preliminary injunction to allow a determination of the rights of the state before aditional lease sales are completed.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
George Deukmejian, Attorney General; N. Gregory Taylor, Ass't Attorney General; Theodora Berger, John A. Saurenman, Deputy Attorneys General
Department of Justice, 800 Tishman Bldg., 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 736-2304

Trent W. Orr
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
25 Kearney St., San Francisco CA 94108
(415) 421-6561

Counsel for Defendants
Andrea Sheridan Ordin, U.S. Attorney; James R. Arnold, Ass't U.S. Attorney
1100 U.S. Cthse., 312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 688-2400

Michael W. Reed, Peter Steenland
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2771

Counsel for Intervenor Western Oil & Gas Ass'n
Howard J. Privett, Donna Black, Leslie Bigler
McCutchen, Black, Verleger & Shea
30th Floor, 3435 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 381-3411

Counsel for Intervenor Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
William C. Miller, Donald E. Peterson
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro
225 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94104
(415) 983-1000