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Get Oil Out! v. Andrus

ELR Citation: 9 ELR 20621
Nos. No. CV-78-1721-HP, 477 F. Supp. 40/13 ERC 1474/(C.D. Cal., 07/26/1979) Defendants' motion for summary judgment granted

Granting defendants' motion for summary judgment, the court vacates an injunction issued previously against the installation of two oil drilling rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel, 9 ELR 20126, ruling that defendants' revised administrative record complies with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Turning first to jurisdictional questions, the court notes that §23(c) of the 1978 Amendments to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), which places jurisdiction over challenges to certain actions taken under the Act in the courts of appeals and became effective March 18, 1979, did not operate to divest the court of jurisdiction over the case. In light of the strong presumption against applying statutes retroactively, the court retains jurisdiction over the action under 28 U.S.C. §1331. Moreover, §23(c) of the OCSLA Amendments only gives the courts of appeals jurisdiction to review actions taken by the Secretary of the Interior under the Act. Since this suit challenges the Secretary's compliance with NEPA and not the OCSLA, §23(c) does not restrict the court's jurisdiction. While declining to decide whether the defendants' decision not to prepare sitespecific environmental impact statements for the two oil drilling platforms should be judged under the "arbitrary and capricious" test or the "reasonableness" test, the court finds that the negative determination should be sustained under either formulation. The court is convinced from the design of the two platforms as well as the numerous environmental studies of the program of which they are a part that defendants properly concluded that the impacts of these particular platforms would not be significant within the meaning of NEPA.

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) 322-1882

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