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Sierra Club v. Zinke

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20124
Nos. 17-cv-03804-EDL & 17-cv-3885-EDL, (N.D. Cal. , 10/04/2017) (Laporte, J.)

A district court held that BLM violated the APA when it postponed compliance with Obama-era greenhouse gas emission rules. Several states and tribal citizen groups brought suit against BLM when it published a notice in the Federal Register postponing compliance dates for certain sections of the Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule after the rule’s effective date had already passed. The decision indefinitely delayed deadlines for measuring flared gas, upgrading equipment and controlling leaks. BLM argued that §705 of the APA allowed it to postpone the effective date of a rule that was subject to litigation. The plaintiffs argued that the section only applied to rules that have not yet taken effect. The court agreed, stating that allowing BLM's interpretation of the rule would allow an agency to circumvent the need for notice and comment when it sought to repeal a rule. Summary judgment was awarded in favor of the plaintiffs.