On July 27, 2015, D.C. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon entered a strongly worded order in Solenex LLC v. Jewell, chastising the defendants, including the Department of the Interior and numerous other federal agencies, for unreasonably delaying action in their review of Solonex LLC’s suspended 1985 drilling permit. Civ. No. 1:13-cv-00993, Doc. No. 52.
The court provided a summary of the “torturous” factual history of the case. Id. at 2. The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a lease to the plaintiff’s predecessor-in-interest in 1982, which covered 6,247 acres in Montana, known as Badger-Two Medicine by the Native American Blackfeet Nation. Subsequently, the BLM approved an application to drill (“APD”) a single natural gas exploratory well on January 31, 1985. The BLM then suspended the permit six times, starting October 1, 1985, with the last suspension occurring on July 15, 1998. During this time, “various agencies, including the Forest Service and the BLM [were] performing various reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4331 et seq., the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”), 16 U.S.C. §§ 470-470x-6, and other applicable statutes.” Id. Continue Reading