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United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
May 20, 2021, Filed
This appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia's orders granting appellees' motion for summary judgment and denying appellants' motion to alter or amend was presented to the court and briefed and argued by counsel. The court has accorded the issues full consideration and has determined that they do not warrant a published opinion. See D.C. Cir. R. 36(d). For the reasons stated below, it is hereby
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the judgment of the district court be affirmed.
Appellants, organizations of fishermen and seaside municipalities, challenge the [*372] Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) decision to issue an offshore lease for a windfarm off the coast of New York. They bring claims under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The district court dismissed the former claims as unripe and the latter for failure to comply with OCSLA's pre-suit notice provision. We affirm on the same grounds.
] "[A]n agency's NEPA obligations mature only once it reaches a critical stage of a decision which will result in irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources to an action that will affect the environment." Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. United States DOI, 563 F.3d 466, 480, 385 U.S. App. D.C. 257 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). This is a question [**3] of "ripeness." Wyoming Outdoor Council v. United States Forest Service, 165 F.3d 43, 49, 334 U.S. App. D.C. 98 (D.C. Cir. 1999). In Sierra Club v. Peterson, we explained that the issuance of an energy lease triggers NEPA unless the lease "reserves both the authority to preclude all activities pending submission of site-specific proposals and the authority to prevent proposed activities if the environmental consequences are unacceptable." 717 F.2d 1409, 1415, 230 U.S. App. D.C. 352 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (emphasis omitted).
The lease in this case satisfies both requirements. First, the lease declares that it "does not, by itself, authorize any activity within the leased area." Lease § 2(a) (emphasis added). Rather, the lease merely grants to Equinor, the lessee,
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
858 Fed. Appx. 371 *; 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 15157 **; 2021 WL 2206426
FISHERIES SURVIVAL FUND, ET AL., APPELLANTS GARDEN STATE SEAFOOD ASSOCIATION, APPELLEE v. DEBRA A. HAALAND, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL., APPELLEES
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:16-cv-02409).
Fisheries Survival Fund v. Jewell, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168532 (D.D.C., Sept. 30, 2018)Fisheries Survival Fund v. Bernhardt, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25920 (D.D.C., Feb. 14, 2020)
lease, notice, appellants', windfarm, environmental consequences, resources, energy
Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Ripeness, Tests for Ripeness, Constitutional Law, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Ripeness, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent, Evidence, Presumptions, Particular Presumptions, Regularity, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Maritime Workers' Claims, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Energy & Utilities Law, Pipelines & Transportation, Pipelines, Offshore Gas & Oil Pipelines