Interior appeals OCS withdrawal decision
The Trump administration has appealed the March decision by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason which found that President Donald Trump did not have the authority to override President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of Arctic outer continental shelf lands from leasing under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
The May 28 appeal, on behalf of President Trump, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, is to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
OCSLA provides that: “The President of the United States may, from time to time, withdraw from disposition any of the unleased lands of the outer Continental Shelf.”
President Obama withdrew certain areas from leasing in 2015 and 2016.
In 2017, President Trump issued an executive order, “which purported to revoke the 2015 and 2016 withdrawals,” Gleason said in her decision.
The judge said the OCSLA “refers only to the withdrawal of lands; it does not expressly authorize the President to revoke a prior withdrawal. Congress appears to have expressed one concept - withdrawal - and excluded the converse- revocation.”
Gleason noted that “Congress has not acted to approve or reject” Trump’s executive order and also said the OCSLA “expressly granted to the President the authority to withdraw unleased lands from the OCS; but the statute does not expressly grant to the President the authority to revoke prior withdrawals.”
Looking at other acts of Congress, related to uplands, Gleason concluded that “had Congress intended to grant the President revocation authority, it could have done so explicitly, as it had previous done in several (but not all) of its previously enacted uplands laws.”
She concluded that the portion of the executive order “which purported to revoke prior presidential withdrawals of OCS lands for leasing, is unlawful, as it exceeded the President’s authority under Section 12(a) of OCSLA.”
- KRISTEN NELSON