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Soundings Archive

Court Orders Briefing Schedule in NGO Challenge to FWS Polar Bear and Walrus Oil and Gas Seismic Rules
The Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Environment are challenging the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service's incidental take rules for oil and gas exploration activities that may affect polar bears and pacific walruses in the Chukchi Sea. The challenge is filed in Alaska federal district court. The plaintiffs' amended complaint alleges that the regulations violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. This case raises many precedential issues regarding the U.S government's regulation of oil and gas seismic activities.

It appears that the case will be decided on the basis of a summary judgment motion. In other words, there probably won't be a trial. On November 7, 2008, the judge issued a briefing schedule for the case. The schedule follows:

December 19, 2008 - Filing and service by defendants of the relevant administrative record or records,

January 23, 2009 - Filing and service of plaintiffs' opening brief,

March 24, 2009 - Filing and service of defendants' [FWS'] brief,

April 13, 2009 - Filing and service, if desired, of any Response and reply brief by plaintiffs, and

May 13, 2009 - Filing and service by defendants [FWS], if desired, of a response to plaintiffs' reply brief.

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