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Interior’s Authority to Consider Downstream Emissions from Offshore Leasing

In its proposed Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program for 2023–2028, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) claims that it cannot consider downstream greenhouse gas emissions when setting leasing policy because of a 2009 D.C. Circuit case, Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of the Interior (CBD). This Policy Brief explains that BOEM misreads CBD, which held only that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) does not require the agency to consider downstream effects. The Policy Brief further explains that neither CBD nor any other case law bars BOEM from considering downstream effects and that consideration of such effects is in fact consistent with the text, legislative history, and regulatory history of OCSLA.