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Soundings Archive

Alaska Moves to Intervene in Beaufort Lease Sale Litigation
Several NGOs have sued the U.S. Minerals Management Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over MMS' Lease Sale 193, which involves oil and gas exploration and production in the Chukchi Sea, offshore of Alaska. The plaintiffs' complaint claims that this Lease Sale violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs' complaint alleges harm to various marine mammals including polar bears.

The plaintiffs have filed a summary judgment motion. MMS has been granted several extensions of time to respond to the plaintiffs' motion. Their latest extension was granted to allow the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit time to rule on MMS' motion for rehearing or clarification of the court's decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. DOI . In that opinion the D.C. Circuit vacated and remanded MMS' 2007-2012 leasing program under which Lease Sale 193 was conducted.

In its motion to intervene in the Chukchi litigation in Alaska federal district court, the State of Alaska argues that it will be severely prejudiced economically if the plaintiffs obtain their requested relief regarding Lease Sale 193. MMS filed a response stating that it does not oppose Alaska's motion to intervene. ConocoPhillips, who has already intervened in the case, filed a motion supporting Alaska's motion.

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