Secretary Salazar Seeks Clarification to OCS Court Ruling

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today asked the Department of Justice to seek clarification from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the scope of its April 17, 2009 decision that Bush Administration officials did not conduct sufficient scientific and environmental analysis before scheduling oil and gas lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf off Alaska.

The court vacated the entire 2007-2012 Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas leasing program two years after lease sales began. At Salazar's request, the Department of Justice is asking the court to confirm its interpretation of the decision as not requiring retroactive invalidation of prior leases and to allow it to move forward and fix the shortcomings in the environmental analysis for the 5-year plan without developing and approving an entirely new five year program.

“The previous Administration's failure to apply the law has resulted in widespread uncertainty in the oil and gas industry and put reliable conventional energy production from offshore areas at risk,” Salazar said. “We must fix the problems the court identified and put oil and gas leasing decisions back on firm scientific footing.”

The court determined that in formulating the current 5-year plan the previous Administration erred in only considering the environmental sensitivity of shoreline areas, rather than considering the environmental sensitivity of the entire leasing area, as required by law.

To read the brief filed today by the Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of the Interior, click here: /news/pressreleases/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=10409

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