Shell Gulf of Mex. v. Ctr. for Biological Div.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 11-12-2014
  • Case #: 13-35835
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge D.W. Nelson for the Court; Circuit Judges Farris and Nguyen
  • Full Text Opinion

A party does not have an adverse legal interest that satisfies the case or controversy requirement merely because it could be impacted by potential legal action of another.

Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. and Shell Offshore, Inc. have invested in oil and gas removal in certain areas in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off of Alaska’s coast. As required by the Oil Pollution Act, Shell obtained the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s approval of Shell’s oil spill response plans for the sites. To ease Shell’s concerns that the environmental organizations would seek a reversal of the Bureau’s approval and delay its operations, Shell sought a judgment declaring that the approval did not violate the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). The environmental organizations filed a motion to dismiss, due to Shell’s lack of an actual case or controversy. The district court denied the motion. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that a party does not have an adverse legal interest that satisfies the case or controversy requirement merely because it could be impacted by potential legal action of another. Further, the panel held that the Bureau, or other federal agency, must be a party to any legal actions seeking judgment under the APA. REVERSED and REMANDED.

Advanced Search