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North Slope Borough v. Andrus

ELR Citation: 10 ELR 20054
Nos. Nos. 79-3126 et al., 486 F. Supp. 326/14 ERC 1001/(D.D.C., 12/07/1979) Preliminary injunction denied

The court denies requests by three plaintiffs for preliminary injunctive relief against the sale of oil and gas exploration leases to tracts of the outer continental shelf in the Beaufort Sea near Alaska. The court first concludes that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims that the planned lease sale will violate the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. The environmental impact statement prepared for the sale fails in several ways to analyze adequately the cumulative environmental impacts and alternative ways of conducting the sale. It also appears that the action will jeopardize the existence of the bowhead and grey whales and the Secretary of the Interior has apparently not complied with his duty under §7 of the Endangered Species Act to prevent such consequences. The court finds, however, that plaintiffs have failed to show that they are threatened with irreparable harm. Even if the contested lease sale is permitted to proceed, environmentally damaging activities will not likely occur for a period of several months. Accordingly, the motions for a preliminary injunction are denied and an expedited schedule is established for briefing on the merits.

Counsel for Plaintiff North Slope Borough
Bruce J. Terris, Edward H. Comer
1826 18th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 332-1882

Counsel for Plaintiff National Wildlife Federation
Patrick A. Parenteau
1412 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 797-6800

Counsel for Plaintiff Village of Kaktovik
Clifton E. Curtiss
Center for Law and Social Policy
1751 N St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 872-0670

Counsel for Federal Defendants
Margaret N. Strand
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2778

Counsel for Intervenor-Defendants
E. Edward Bruce, John T. Smith
Covington & Burling
888 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 452-6800

Owen Olpin, Donald M. Weesling
O'Melveny & Myers
611 W. 6th St., Los Angeles CA 90017
(213) 620-1120

Counsel for Amicus Curiae State of Alaska
Robert Loeffler, Ass't Attorney General
Department of Law, Pouch K, Juneau Alaska 99811
(907) 465-3600