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Northern Alaska Envtl. Ctr. v. Kempthorne

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20141
Nos. No. 05-35085, (9th Cir., 07/26/2006)

The court holds that the final environmental impact statement (EIS) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) prepared in connection with its plan to offer long-term oil and gas leases in a portion of Alaska complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Environmentalists argue that the EIS lacked site-specific analysis for particular locations where drilling might occur. Yet no such drilling site analysis is possible until it is known where the drilling is likely to take place, and that can be known only after leasing and exploration. Moreover, BLM points out that the environmental consequences at specific sites can be assessed in connection with later applications for permits for drilling at those sites, and that no permits should issue without extensive site-specific analysis of adverse environmental effects and of the mitigation measures appropriate to minimize them. The court, therefore, upholds a lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the government.