Sierra Club, et al. v. U.S. Defense Energy Support Center, et al.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Tab Group
Motion to dismiss granted
The Eastern District of Virginia dismissed the case because the plaintiffs lacked standing.
According to the court, the plaintiffs’ “attenuated causal chain” demonstrated that it would be “impossible to conclude that the lack of a lifecycle emissions certification in DLA Energy contracts encouraged the producers of fuel from [Canadian oil sands] to engage in mining or production activities that they would not have otherwise taken.”
Moreover, the court said, the plaintiffs could not show that the defendants were responsible for the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries, or that the court could fashion any remedy that would redress those alleged injuries. The court found that “enjoining Defendants” from entering into contracts for the purchase of fuels derived from [Canadian oil sands] will not reduce the climate change-related risks” the plaintiffs allegedly faced.
U.S. Chamber intervenes in support of Defense Department purchase of Canadian oil sands-derived fuels
The U.S. Chamber intervened in support of the Department of Defense (DOD) in a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations under Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). Section 526 requires the government to ensure that any nonconventional fuels it purchases emit lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels. The Sierra Club and its co-plaintiffs contend that the DOD violated this provision by purchasing fuels produced from Canadian oil sands-derived crude. An adverse ruling would produce significant long term effects on jobs and growth for American businesses, giving an advantage to businesses operating in other countries.
Motion to intervene filed 9/29/10. Motion to intervene granted 10/19/10. Intervenors’ answer and affirmative defenses to plaintiffs’ complaint filed 10/29/10. Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and memo supporting summary judgment filed 2/17/11. NCLC reply in support of defendants' motion to dismiss filed 4/27/11. Motion to dismiss granted 8/2/11.