Description: Challenge to the alleged failure of federal agencies to comply with the Endangered Species Act and Administrative Procedure Act in connection with the authorization and management of offshore oil and gas activities in federal waters off California.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Haaland
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/26/2022 Order Download Case stayed and parties ordered to comply with the terms with the stipulated agreement. Endangered Species Act Challenge to Offshore Drilling off California Stayed After Agencies Reinitiated Consultation. The federal district court for the Central District of California stayed a case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity that challenged 2017 determinations that offshore oil and gas activities on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf off California were not likely to adversely affect species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as well as the failure to reinitiate consultation under the ESA in light of new information regarding impacts not previously considered. The new information included new studies regarding oil and gas drilling’s impact on climate change. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement requested reinitiation of consultation approximately three months after the lawsuit was filed, and they represented that they intended to update their oil spill risk analysis, consider newly designated critical habitat for two species of whale, and continue to review proposed actions for potential impacts to listed marine species. They anticipate providing a new consultation package to the National Marine Fisheries Service by February 28, 2023. 08/24/2022 Stipulation Download Parties filed stipulated agreement to stay case. 01/26/2022 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Alleged that New Information on Oil Drilling’s Exacerbation of Climate Change Triggered Duty to Reinitiate Endangered Species Act Consultation. In a lawsuit filed in the federal district court for the Central District of California, Center for Biological Diversity challenged the alleged failure of federal agencies to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in connection with the authorization and management of offshore oil and gas activities in federal waters off California. CBD claimed that a 2017 determination that the activities were not likely to adversely affect certain endangered and threatened whales, turtles, fish, and other species or their critical habitat was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with the ESA and its procedures. CBD also claimed that the agencies violated the ESA and APA by failing to reinitiate and complete consultation despite “new evidence of impacts from [offshore oil and gas production and development activities] in a manner or to an extent not previously considered.” As one type of new information that allegedly triggered the duty to reinitiate consultation, the complaint cited new studies regarding the impact of oil and gas drilling on climate change, “which is already threatening many species with extinction.” The complaint cited a study that estimated that “every barrel of federal oil left undeveloped would result in nearly half a barrel reduction in net oil consumption, with associated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” and a second study that confirmed the first study’s findings for California.