Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency

937 F.3d 533 (2019)

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Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
937 F.3d 533 (2019)

Facts

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (defendant) issued a general permit for oil and gas operations in federal waters in central and western parts of the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico covered about 600,000 square miles. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) required a federal agency to prepare an environmental-impact statement (EIS) in assessing major projects. The Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental organizations (collectively, associations) (plaintiffs) sued the EPA, arguing that the EPA’s grant of a general permit without an EIS violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the NEPA. Under Article III of the United States Constitution, a plaintiff required standing to sue. For an association to establish standing, one of the association’s members had to have standing, the interests the association sought to advance had to be germane to the organization’s purpose, and neither the claim nor the relief requested must have needed participation of individual members. To establish standing, the associations offered declarations from members Peter Galvin, Todd Steiner, Susan Prévost, and Jonathan Henderson. Galvin, Steiner, and Prévost stated that they planned to visit certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico in the future. Henderson stated that he regularly took boat trips in the Gulf of Mexico to look for oil spills.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Oldham, J.)

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