Description: Lawsuit seeking to bar authorization of new oil and gas drilling activities at the Beta Unit on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf until the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reviews and revises development and production plans.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Haaland
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/17/2023 Decision Download Motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part. California Federal Court Declined to Dismiss Lawsuit Seeking to Compel Review of Offshore Development and Production Plans from 1980s. The federal district court for the Central District of California found that Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) adequately stated claims under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and the Administrative Procedure Act that the Secretary of the Interior, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the BOEM Pacific Regional Director had failed to review development and production plans (DPPs) for offshore platforms established in the 1980s off Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The complaint included allegations that drilling off the California coast “contributes to the climate emergency.” The court ruled that OCSLA’s citizen suit provision permitted CBD to bring its claim for relief. The court also found that OCSLA created a discrete and mandatory duty for the Secretary of the Interior to review approved DPPs and that CBD therefore stated a claim under the Administrative Procedure Act for agency action “unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed.” 01/19/2023 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by defendants. 09/28/2022 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Sought to Compel BOEM to Review and Revise 40-Year-Old Plans for Drilling Off California Coast. In a lawsuit filed in the federal district court for the Central District of California, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sought to bar the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) from authorizing new oil and gas drilling activities at the Beta Unit on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf off Huntington Beach until BOEM reviews and revises development and production plans (DPPs). CBD alleged that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) requires periodic reviews of DPPs and that BOEM had failed to review the DPPs—which had been in place for 40 years—for the Beta Unit (three drilling platforms and one processing platform) for at least two decades. CBD alleged that new information indicated that the DPPs for the Beta Unit were out of date, “increasing the numerous harms inherent in offshore drilling activities.” New information cited in the complaint included studies showing that climate change and ocean warming were increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, increasing wave power, and causing faster winds, which could affect the ability of the platforms to withstand wave conditions. The complaint also alleged that drilling off California’s coast “contributes to the climate emergency,” citing a study that found that “for each barrel of California oil left in the ground, only 0.4 to 0.8 barrels would be produced elsewhere, yielding a net reduction in global oil consumption of between 0.6 and 0.2 barrels.” CBD asserted claims under both the OCSLA and the Administrative Procedure Act.