Aera Energy LLC v. Kenneth Salazar, et al, No. 10-5101 (D.C. Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The Pacific Regional Director of the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service ("Director") caused four oil and gas leases off the coast of California, for which appellants had originally paid the United States over $140 million, to expire. The Director later testified that he based his decision solely on political considerations and that absent such considerations, he would have extended the leases instead. At issue was whether the Interior Board of Land Appeals ("IBLA") should have adopted the decision the Director said he would have made absent political influence in order to cure the Director's original decision of political taint. The court affirmed the district court's decision and held that the IBLA fulfilled its role and appellants received all they were entitled to, i.e., an agency decision on the merits without regard to extrastatutory, political factors.