Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20093
Nos. 12-70518, (9th Cir., 04/23/2013)

The Ninth Circuit, in an amended opinion, denied an environmental group's petition challenging EPA's decision to grant two air permits authorizing exploratory drilling operations in the Arctic Ocean by a drillship and its associated fleet of support vessels. The permits require the drillship to comply with best available control technology (BACT) requirements, but there are no such requirements for the remaining vessels in the associated fleet that will not be physically attached to the drillship. Although the CAA is ambiguous as to the applicability of BACT to support vessels not attached to an outer continental shelf source, EPA's construction of the statute that BACT does not apply to mobile support vessels unattached to the drillship was permissible, reasonable, and entitled to deference. The permits also exempt compliance with ambient air standards within a 500-meter radius surrounding the drillship, subject to certain U.S. Coast Guard requirements. But EPA’s grant of the exemption was not plainly erroneous or inconsistent with EPA's regulations.