U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Case Status


Docket Number

11-12598, 11-12599


Case Updates

Eleventh Circuit addresses continued exploration in the Gulf

July 13, 2012

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied the Defenders of Wildlife et al.'s petition to overturn BOEM's approval of Shell's exploration plan to conduct deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The Court held that BOEM complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

November 23, 2011

NCLC urged the court to uphold the Bureau of Ocean Management’s (BOEM) approval of Shell Oil’s offshore exploration plan in the Gulf of Mexico. In this case, environmental groups challenged the federal offshore permitting process, alleging that the government’s assessment of Shell Oil’s plan was “arbitrary and capricious.” In its amicus brief, NCLC argued that, on the contrary, the government carefully considered the historically low probability of deepwater blowouts, as well as the newly implemented safety measures that make the chances of another blowout even less probable. The moratorium, imposed in July, 2010, halted both deep and shallow water exploration in the Gulf, threatening thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments in the region. Now that the ban has been lifted, it is crucial to recovery that a consistent, rational, and timely permit approval process be established.

Case Documents