Description: Challenge to leasing plan for oil and gas development, including on grounds that climate change impacts were not considered.
Center for Biological Diversity v. United States Department of the Interior
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/17/2009 Opinion Download Opinion issued. The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals held that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA did not grant standing to citizens to sue on the merits of their climate claims. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) challenged a leasing plan for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi Seas off the coast of Alaska, alleging that the Department of the Interior failed to consider the climate change impacts of the plan under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court held that CBD’s NEPA claims were unripe and did not rule on the substantive standing issue. However, it included a lengthy discussion on standing in the ruling, stating that CBD only had standing to bring procedural rather than substantive climate claims. The court found that CBD failed to show that the harm from climate change caused by leasing was actual or imminent and failed to show that the generalized harm of climate change would hurt its members more than the rest of the population. In addition, the court found that CBD failed to show how the leasing would be a proximate cause of climate change.