Herringbone United States must pursue its challenge to the EPA’s potential regulation of emissions from its offshore oil rigs near California that are decommissioned in another court, the DC Circuit said Friday.

The Clean Air Act only allows the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to review the dispute if the Environmental Protection Agency’s action is “nationally enforceable”, the official said. court. The agency letter at issue here is “locally or regionally applicable,” depending on the ruling.

“Chevron’s venue for litigation belongs exclusively to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” the court said.

Chevron sued the agency after telling the company in an April 2021 letter that the platform was still a stationary source subject to air emissions regulations. The company is decommissioning the Gail and Grace drilling rigs in federal waters off the coast of Ventura County.

A platform that cannot emit air pollutants is not considered a source of outer continental shelf pollutants, Chevron told the court. The Trump administration had told the company that once a rig was no longer emitting pollutants, it could surrender its Clean Air Act Title V permits and ignore additional permits, according to the company.

The EPA said Chevron’s dispute belongs to the Ninth Circuit, not the DC Circuit, because its letters to the company were not applicable nationwide.

The EPA also told the court that the company filed its challenge too soon. Instead, it must wait for Ventura County to decide whether Chevron’s rigs need a dismantling permit, the agency said.

The DC Circuit agreed with the agency and denied the company’s request for review for lack of venue. Chief Justice Sri Srinivasan wrote the opinion and was joined by Justice Cornelia TL Pillard.

Judge David S. Tatel withdrew from the case after oral argument.

“We are carefully reviewing the opinion and considering requesting a reconsideration of the panel’s decision,” Chevron spokesman Bill Turenne Jr. said.

“But Chevron has already filed a protective action in the Ninth Circuit and stands ready, if necessary, to explain to the Ninth Circuit why we believe the EPA’s April 20 letter does not comply with Clean Air rules. Act for the Outer Continental Shelf Platforms,” ​​he said. said Friday.

King & Spalding LLP and Hogan Lovells US LLP represented Chevron. The Department of Justice represented the federal government.

The case is Chevron USA v. EPA, DC Cir., No. 21-01140, 8/12/22.


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