Description: Challenge to BLM's repeal of key provisions of the 2016 Waste Prevention Rule for oil and gas development on public and tribal lands.
California v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/15/2020 Order Download Plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment granted and defendants' motions for summary judgment denied. California Federal Court Vacated BLM Repeal of 2016 Waste Prevention Rule. A federal court in California vacated the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) 2018 rule repealing most of the 2016 Waste Prevention Rule, finding that the process that resulted in the 2018 rule was “wholly inadequate.” First, the court found that BLM ignored the Mineral Leasing Act’s statutory mandate by adding an “economic limitation” to the interpretation of “waste” and through a “blanket delegation” to state and tribal authority. Second, the court found that BLM did not comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, finding fault with all of BLM’s grounds for the rescission. The court found that BLM did not provide adequate justification for reversing its position that the 2016 rule’s requirements were “economical, cost-effective, and reasonable”; impermissibly relied on President Trump’s Executive Order 13783 in a manner that was inconsistent with statutory mandates; arbitrarily and capriciously used a new “interim domestic” social cost of methane to analyze costs and benefits; arbitrarily ignored the Waste Prevention Rule’s benefits; arbitrarily overstated the administrative burden and failed to explain the “dramatic recalculation” of administrative costs; and arbitrarily and capriciously calculated compliance costs. Third, the court found that BLM did not satisfy its “hard look” obligation under NEPA with respect to impacts on public health (including impacts on tribal communities), impacts on climate, and cumulative climate impacts of BLM’s fossil fuel program. The court further found that BLM erred by not preparing an environmental impact statement. The court stayed its vacatur of the 2018 rule and re-implementation of the 2016 rule for 90 days to allow the parties to determine next steps. 03/18/2020 Brief Download Joint supplemental brief on remedy filed by plaintiffs. 03/11/2020 Brief Download Joint remedy brief filed by trade groups. 03/11/2020 Brief Download Remedy brief filed by State of Wyoming. 03/11/2020 Memorandum of Law Download Memorandum of law on remedy filed by defendants. 11/15/2019 Reply Download Reply filed by defendants in support of cross motion for summary judgment. 10/02/2019 Opposition Download State plaintiffs filed opposition to cross-motions for summary judgment and reply in support of motion for summary judgment. 10/02/2019 Opposition Download Citizen groups filed opposition to cross-motions for summary judgment and reply in support of motion for summary judgment. 08/26/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment Download American Petroleum Institute filed cross-motion for summary judgment and opposition to plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment. 08/12/2019 Motion Download Cross-motion for summary judgment and response to plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment filed by defendants. 06/20/2019 Amicus Brief Download Brief filed by members of Congress as amici curiae in support of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. 06/07/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Motion for summary judgment filed by citizen groups. 06/07/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Motion for summary judgment filed by state plaintiffs. 11/08/2018 Order Download Western Energy Alliance and Independent Petroleum Association of America's unopposed motion to intervene granted. 10/10/2018 Complaint Download First amended complaint filed. 09/20/2018 Motion to Intervene Download Motion to intervene filed. Trade Groups Sought to Intervene to Defend Repeal. The Western Energy Alliance and Independent Petroleum Association of America moved to intervene. They argued that they were entitled to intervene as of right because they had legally protectable interests that the named defendants could not adequately protect. Alternatively, they argued for permissive intervention. 09/18/2018 Complaint Download Complaint filed. States Challenged BLM’s Repeal of Key Provisions of Waste Prevention Rule. On the same day that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a final rule repealing key requirements of the Waste Prevention Rule, California and New Mexico filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of California challenging the repeal. The states alleged causes of action under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). They asserted that BLM failed to offer a reasoned explanation for reversing its previous determination that the Waste Prevention Rule was necessary to fulfill its statutory mandates and alleged in particular that the “interim domestic social cost of methane” metric used by BLM to justify the repeal was arbitrary and not based on best available science. The states also asserted that “perfunctory” conclusion that the repeal would not have significant environmental impacts violated NEPA. The states alleged that the repeal would likely result in a number of significant adverse impacts, including climate change harms.
Sierra Club v. Zinke
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/28/2018 Complaint Download Complaint filed. After the final rule repealing key provisions of the Waste Prevention Rule was published in the Federal Register, a number of environmental groups led by Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging the repeal. The groups asserted claims under the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, NEPA, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Their complaint alleged that BLM’s use of an interim social cost of methane excluded significant domestic and global impacts. The groups contend that an environmental impact statement is required because “extensive record evidence” shows the repeal will have “significant negative public health and climate impacts, and there is a high degree of controversy and uncertainty surrounding the use of the social cost of methane.”