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Ensco Offshore Co. v. Salazar

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20002
Nos. No. 10-1941, (E.D. La. , 10/19/2010)

A district court vacated new safety requirements the DOI issued for oil and gas operators in the outer continental shelf. The requirements, issued in a notice to lessees, range from submitting certifications to performing additional safety procedures. The requirements were set aside because the government failed to provide notice and comment under the APA when it issued the notice. It claimed that the new rule was interpretative, not substantive. But the notice imposes additional duties on operators and lessees and mandates new certifications and safety inspections that were not in place before. The rule does not simply track statutory language or reiterate existing duties. It is, by its very thrust, substantive. Accordingly, because the government did not comply with the APA's notice-and-comment requirements, the safety requirements are of no lawful force or effect.