United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Aug 15, 2022
Citizens suits, jurisdiction and judicial review
Persons who may bring actions; persons against whom action may be brought; time of action; intervention by Attorney General; costs and fees; security
Except as provided in this section, any person having a valid legal interest which is or may be adversely affected may commence a civil action on his own behalf to compel compliance with this subchapter against any person, including the United States, and any other government instrumentality or agency (to the extent permitted by the eleventh amendment to the Constitution) for any alleged violation of any provision of this subchapter or any regulation promulgated under this subchapter, or of the terms of any permit or lease issued by the Secretary under this subchapter.
Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, no action may be commenced under subsection (a)(1) of this section—
prior to sixty days after the plaintiff has given notice of the alleged violation, in writing under oath, to the Secretary and any other appropriate Federal official, to the State in which the violation allegedly occurred or is occurring, and to any alleged violator; or
if the Attorney General has commenced and is diligently prosecuting a civil action in a court of the United States or a State with respect to such matter, but in any such action in a court of the United States any person having a legal interest which is or may be adversely affected may intervene as a matter of right.
An action may be brought under this subsection immediately after notification of the alleged violation in any case in which the alleged violation constitutes an imminent threat to the public health or safety or would immediately affect a legal interest of the plaintiff.
In any action commenced pursuant to this section, the Attorney General, upon the request of the Secretary or any other appropriate Federal official, may intervene as a matter of right.
A court, in issuing any final order in any action brought pursuant to subsection (a)(1) or subsection (c) of this section, may award costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees, to any party, whenever such court determines such award is appropriate. The court may, if a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction is sought, require the filing of a bond or equivalent security in a sufficient amount to compensate for any loss or damage suffered, in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, all suits challenging actions or decisions allegedly in violation of, or seeking enforcement of, the provisions of this subchapter, or any regulation promulgated under this subchapter, or the terms of any permit or lease issued by the Secretary under this subchapter, shall be undertaken in accordance with the procedures described in this subsection. Nothing in this section shall restrict any right which any person or class of persons may have under any other Act or common law to seek appropriate relief.
Jurisdiction and venue of actions
Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of cases and controversies arising out of, or in connection with (A) any operation conducted on the outer Continental Shelf which involves exploration, development, or production of the minerals, of the subsoil and seabed of the outer Continental Shelf, or which involves rights to such minerals, or (B) the cancellation, suspension, or termination of a lease or permit under this subchapter. Proceedings with respect to any such case or controversy may be instituted in the judicial district in which any defendant resides or may be found, or in the judicial district of the State nearest the place the cause of action arose.
Any resident of the United States who is injured in any manner through the failure of any operator to comply with any rule, regulation, order, or permit issued pursuant to this subchapter may bring an action for damages (including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees) only in the judicial district having jurisdiction under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
Review of Secretary’s approval of leasing program; review of approval, modification or disapproval of exploration or production plan; persons who may seek review; scope of review; certiorari to Supreme Court
Any action of the Secretary to approve, require modification of, or disapprove any exploration plan or any development and production plan under this subchapter shall be subject to judicial review only in a United States court of appeals for a circuit in which an affected State is located.
The judicial review specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be available only to a person who (A) participated in the administrative proceedings related to the actions specified in such paragraphs, (B) is adversely affected or aggrieved by such action, (C) files a petition for review of the Secretary’s action within sixty days after the date of such action, and (D) promptly transmits copies of the petition to the Secretary and to the Attorney General.
Any action of the Secretary specified in paragraph (1) or (2) shall only be subject to review pursuant to the provisions of this subsection, and shall be specifically excluded from citizen suits which are permitted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.
The Secretary shall file in the appropriate court the record of any public hearings required by this subchapter and any additional information upon which the Secretary based his decision, as required by section 2112 of title 28. Specific objections to the action of the Secretary shall be considered by the court only if the issues upon which such objections are based have been submitted to the Secretary during the administrative proceedings related to the actions involved.
The court of appeals conducting a proceeding pursuant to this subsection shall consider the matter under review solely on the record made before the Secretary. The findings of the Secretary, if supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole, shall be conclusive. The court may affirm, vacate, or modify any order or decision or may remand the proceedings to the Secretary for such further action as it may direct.
Upon the filing of the record with the court, pursuant to paragraph (5), the jurisdiction of the court shall be exclusive and its judgment shall be final, except that such judgment shall be subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United States upon writ of certiorari.
cite as: 43 USC 1349