The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the United States Department of the Interior leased oil and gas rights in a federally owned national forest in Ventura County (Ventura) (plaintiff) to Gulf Oil Corporation (Gulf) (defendant). BLM issued a permit approving Gulf’s proposed drilling under the lease. The United States Department of Agriculture and the California Resources Agency also approved the proposal. Ventura’s zoning ordinances required that an operator obtain a permit from Ventura in order to conduct drilling operations. Ventura informed Gulf of this requirement, but Gulf refused to obtain a permit. Ventura brought suit against Gulf, seeking a preliminary injunction enjoining Gulf’s operations. The district court denied the injunction and dismissed Ventura’s suit. Ventura appealed, arguing that Gulf’s activities could unnecessarily harm the local environment.