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Newport Beach, City of v. Andrus

Citation: 9 ELR 20582
No. No. CV-79-02426 AAH (Sx), (C.D. Cal., 08/03/1979)

The court denies plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas Lease Sale No. 48. In challenging the legality of the lease sale two days before the sale was scheduled to take place on June 29, 1979, plaintiff alleged violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. In its findings of fact, the court notes that to proceed with the lease sale decision was the last stage in a three-year process, including nominations for tracts, public hearings, a comprehensive environmental impact statement, and elimination of certain tracts for environmental and shipping traffic safety reasons. The court also notes that the lease sale area could contain 208 million barrels of oil and 819 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

In its conclusions of law, the court finds plaintiff guilty of laches and undue delay in bringing the lawsuit. Furthermore, plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the claims that defendants have committed several statutory violations. In addition, plaintiff has not demonstrated any irreparable injury arising from the sale to justify injunctive relief; in any event, there would be greater irreparable injury to the public interest in terms of the nation's energy needs if an injunction were issued.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (6 pp. $0.75, ELR Order No. C-1178).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Michael D. Rubin
Rutan & Tucker
401 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana CA 92702
(714) 835-2200

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Western Oil and Gas Ass'n
Philip Verleger, Betty-Jane Kirwan
McCutchen, Black, Verleger & Shea
3435 Wilshire Blvd., 30th floor, Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 381-3411

Counsel for Defendants
Stephen E. O'Neil, Ass't U.S. Attorney
312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 688-2474

William M. Cohen
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2704

Theresa Ann Hooks
Office of the Solicitor
Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240
(202) 343-4325

Hall, J.