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Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. v. Center for Biological Diversity, Inc.

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20182
Nos. 3:12-CV-00048, -00010, (D. Alaska, 08/05/2013) (Beistline, J.)

A district court upheld DOI's approval of oil spill response plans an oil company submitted for drilling operations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Despite environmental groups' arguments to the contrary, an environmental review was not required under NEPA since the approvals do not constitute a major federal action that significantly affects the quality of the human environment. Nor were any consultations required under the ESA since the approvals were not authorizing an activity, project, or program. In addition, the agency's approval process was proper under the CWA. Because DOI did not violate NEPA, ESA, or the CWA, the court upheld its approval of the plans.