Department of the Interior

News & Analysis as of

The Congressional Review Act: Congress Dusts Off an Old Oversight Weapon

One of the great powers that Congress has to undo changes made by a prior administration is the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which was enacted in 1996. As of March 17, 2017, this Congress has used the CRA to overturn more...more

Fifth Circuit Dismisses False Claims Act Suit Alleging Violation Of Offshore Regulations

In Abbott v. BP, the plaintiffs alleged that BP had falsely certified to compliance with regulatory requirements pertaining to the engineering of the Atlantis Platform, a semi-submersible floating production facility capable...more

Senate Confirms Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

On March 1, 2017, the Senate confirmed Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) as Secretary of the Interior in a 68-31 bipartisan vote. He was sworn into the Cabinet later that day by Vice President Mike Pence. Zinke was able to attract...more

Congress Looks to Overturn Obama-Era Regulations and Assert a Stronger Role in the Administrative Rulemaking Process

Passed in 1996 as part of the so-called Contract with America, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) provides Congress with an expedited legislative process to overrule "major" regulations (those with an annual effect on the...more

Endangered Species Act Case Roundup

Two noteworthy cases have recently been issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The two cases address: (1) the interplay between the Federal...more

Trump Administration Takes Initial Steps to Implement Repeal of Energy, Environmental Regulations

Earlier this year, Freedom Partners, a conservative advocacy group, released A Roadmap to Repeal containing a list of former President Barack Obama's regulations that the group argued should be repealed quickly after the...more

What’s Next Under the Congressional Review Act?

As we reported, the House and Senate have passed a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act disapproving the SEC Resource Extraction Rule and that President Trump was expected to sign the legislation that...more

What Might Be Ahead for Environmental Regulation in the Trump Administration?

By almost every account, the Trump Administration is likely to alter substantially the environmental regulatory landscape. Actions have already been taken to delay the implementation of regulations as well as initiating...more

DOI Issues Solicitor’s Opinion That MBTA Prohibits Incidental Take

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor issued Memorandum M-37041 on January 10, 2017, arguing that incidental take is prohibited under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The solicitor’s opinion was...more

DOI Releases Scoping Report on Coal Leasing Reforms

On January 11, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) within the Department of the Interior released a scoping report analyzing a wide range of proposed reforms to the federal coal leasing program, administered by the BLM....more

A Sign of Things to Come? Trump’s Regulatory Freeze and Other Early Actions

Behind the pomp and circumstance of Friday’s inauguration, President Donald J. Trump and his administration set their sights on deploying a new guard of regulatory and economic policies focused on reducing burdensome...more

“Mighty Difference Between a Living Thump and a Dead Thump” – BSEE’s “Universal Thump” Invalidated; District Court Holds that BSEE...

In a dramatic reversal of a prior and equally dramatic, watershed administrative decision of the Interior Bureau of Land Appeals (IBLA) upholding the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) regulatory...more

California Sues Federal Government Alleging Inadequate Environmental Review of Offshore Drilling Proposal

In one of her last major legal actions before leaving office as California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris, along with the California Coastal Commission (jointly the “Attorney General”), filed suit against various federal...more

Secretary of Interior Nominee Willing to Work for Tribes

President-Elect Donald Trump has officially announced Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) as his nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI). During his time in Congress, Zinke has addressed various DOI issues...more

Energy in Transition: Trump Announces Additional Cabinet Nominees

President-Elect Donald Trump announced this week three new cabinet nominees who will certainly influence U.S. energy policy at home and abroad. This alert is intended to update clients on the President-Elect's nominees and...more

WilmerHale ENsights - December 2016

Welcome to the inaugural issue of WilmerHale ENsights. In this and future editions, we will share weekly energy policy analysis on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition and the priorities of the new Congress. Our...more

Massachusetts Gaming Update: The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Revised Game Plan

Tribal gaming may have endured a setback, but perhaps not a complete elimination in the Massachusetts gaming arena. When a U.S. District Court judge determined the federal government erred in approving the Mashpee Wampanoag...more

Environmental Case Law Update

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Many important environmental and administrative law decisions were reported by the federal and state courts over the past six months. The courts are dealing with very...more

Maximum Civil Penalties for Violations of Environmental, Health and Safety Laws Substantially Increased by EPA, OSHA and DOI to...

On August 1, 2016, maximum civil penalties imposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased significantly pursuant to interim final rules these...more

Departments of Energy and Interior Announce New Collaborative Strategy to Grow the Offshore Wind Industry

On Sept. 9, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior jointly announced their collaborative plan, the National Offshore Wind Strategy: Facilitating the Development of the Offshore Wind Industry in...more

Federal and State Wildlife and Natural Resources Managers Collaborate on Historic Conservation Agreement

The WilmerHale Energy, Environment and Natural Resources group was proud to represent Newmont Mining in working with state and federal entities, among other stakeholders, to develop a historic 1.5-million-acre voluntary,...more

Kitty Hawk NC offshore wind leasing

The U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed leasing federal ocean space offshore North Carolina for commercial offshore wind development. On August 12, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a proposed...more

Another Step Toward North Carolina Offshore Wind: Proposed Offshore Wind Farm Lease Announced

The U.S. Department of the Interior has just announced the next step in the years-long process toward the development of wind energy facilities off the coast of North Carolina. In a notice published in the Federal Register...more

Three Reasons BOEM’s Updated Financial Assurance and Risk Management Requirements Are Unenforceable

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has finally issued its promised Notice to Lessees (NTL) No. 2016-N01, “Requiring Additional Security,” which supersedes NTL No. 2008-N07, “Supplemental Bond...more

Court Decisions Define the Future for Tribal Gaming

Definitions and syntax. Not only on middle school quizzes, but also what determined the fate of the Mashpee Wampanoag and Cowlitz tribal casinos in Massachusetts and Washington, respectively. Two federal court decisions...more

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