NPR-A lease sale appeals go to 9th Circuit
Two appeals challenging the legality of recent Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska have now been appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. As previously reported in Petroleum News, the federal District Court in Alaska dismissed the appeals in early December - the environmental organizations challenging the lease sales have now asked the 9th Circuit to review the District Court decisions.
One of the appeals challenges the 2017 NPR-A lease sale on the grounds that BLM did not conduct an adequate evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of the sale, prior to conducting the sale. In rejecting this appeal, the District Court accepted BLM’s position that an environmental impact statement developed for the NPR-A integrated activity plan encapsulated the environmental evaluation required for the lease sale - the plan envisaged the conducting of lease sales in specific areas of the reserve, including the area encompassed by the 2017 lease sale.
The other appeal targets the 2016 and 2017 lease sales, arguing that in conducting these sales BLM had not adequately considered the potential greenhouse gas emissions impacts of the sales, and that the agency had not adequately considered a range of lease sale configurations. The District Court found that this appeal, in effect, targeted the integrated activity plan, under which the sales were conducted. Consequently, the appeal does not have legal standing because it was launched too long after the plan was published, the court found.
- ALAN BAILEY