July 3, 2022

Volume XII, Number 184

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Oil & Gas Drilling Licenses Canceled by Federal Judge Due to Climate Change Concerns

Yesterday, Judge Contreras of the D.C. District Court vacated oil and gas drilling licenses for the Gulf of Mexico issued in connection with a sale by the Department of the Interior.  Specifically, the court held that the licenses should be vacated because its analysis of the environmental impact of its decision to proceed with the sale was "arbitrary and capricious," as it did not take into account foreign emissions when evaluating the effect of climate change.  The Court expressly stated that "a more complete consideration of total greenhouse gas emissions would have significantly informed [the government agency's] decision . . . [due to] the importance of climate change to the agency's decision and the relevance of lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions to U.S. efforts to combat it."  In essence, the Court adopted an expansive interpretation of climate change and its impact, and relied on this interpretation to reverse a prior decision by a government agency. 

This decision reflects the increasing impact and importance of climate change concerns in the development of the law, particularly with respect to environmental impacts.  It should be expected that courts in the future shall similarly adopt expansive views of climate change, and the effect of climate change on the issues before the court.

"A federal judge on Thursday canceled oil and gas leases of more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, ruling that the Biden administration did not sufficiently take climate change into account when it auctioned the leases late last year."

©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 29
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About this Author

Jacob Hupart Commercial Attorney Litigation Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
Member

Jacob has a multifaceted litigation practice that encompasses complex commercial litigation, including cases involving securities, employment, and environmental claims, as well as class action litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and regulatory investigations. He has extensive experience handling all phases of litigation before federal and state courts, managing discovery, and conducting settlement negotiations. Jacob has represented clients in a variety of industries, including financial services, energy, education, and the media.

Prior to joining Mintz, he was an associate...

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