Description: Landowner's challenge to U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs approval of oil and gas leases and drilling permits that affected plaintiff's property where mineral rights were controlled by Osage Nation.
Hayes v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 11/02/2020 Opinion and Order Download Non-federal defendants' motion to dismiss denied. Oklahoma Federal Court Allowed Landowner to Proceed with NEPA Challenge of Osage Nation Oil and Gas Leases. The federal district court for the Northern District of Oklahoma denied non-federal defendants’ motion to dismiss a landowner’s lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it approved oil and gas leases and drilling permits that affected his property. The Osage Nation controlled the land’s mineral rights. The court concluded that in “equity and good conscience” the lawsuit should proceed even though the Osage Minerals Council was a necessary party that could not be joined due to its sovereign status. The court also found that the landowner had standing since he alleged several ways in which his property, which was the site of the agency action, could be harmed by the challenged leases and drilling permits, including by further contribution to climate change.