Description: Challenge to incidental take regulations authorizing take of 11 species of marine mammals in connection with oil and gas exploration and development activities.
Cook Inletkeeper v. Ross
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/30/2021 Order Download Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part and State of Alaska's cross motion for summary judgment denied. Alaska Federal Court Said Consideration of Oil and Gas Activities’ Impacts on Beluga Whales in Cook Inlet Was Inadequate but Upheld Cumulative Effects Analysis. The federal district court for the District of Alaska rejected plaintiffs’ contention that the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS’s) cumulative effects analysis for incidental take regulations authorizing oil and gas exploration and production activities in Cook Inlet was inadequate, but found that NMFS failed to consider the direct impacts of tugs towing the drill rig on Cook Inlet beluga whales. Regarding the cumulative effects analysis, the court found that NMFS’s environmental assessment catalogued “a wide variety of potential impacts,” including climate change, and plaintiffs failed to identify individual impacts ignored by NMFS. The court found that NMFS “provided a well-developed discussion of the various impacts,” rejecting the plaintiffs’ argument that NMFS merely listed the impacts. 06/15/2020 Complaint Download Supplemental complaint filed. 11/19/2019 Answer Download Answer filed by defendants. 10/10/2019 Complaint Download First amended complaint filed. 09/04/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Two organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alaska challenging the National Marine Fisheries Service issuance of incidental take regulations authorizing the take of 11 species of marine mammals in Cook Inlet, Alaska, in connection with a company's oil and gas exploration and development activities. The plaintiffs asserted that the regulations violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, including by failing to consider cumulative impacts associated with climate change.