Columbia Riverkeeper v. U.S. Coast Guard

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 08-05-2014
  • Case #: 12-73385
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Ikuta for the Court; Circuit Judges Alarcon and Tashima.
  • Full Text Opinion

A U.S. Coast Guard letter of recommendation is not a final agency action under the Natural Gas Act that would allow for judicial review.

Columbia Riverkeeper, Columbia-Pacific Common Sense, and Wahkiakum Friends of the River ("Riverkeeper") "attempted to intervene in an effort to prevent LNG Development Company, LLC ("LNG"), from constructing a liquefied natural gas facility and pipeline along the Columbia River in Oregon." The United States Coast Guard ("USCG") provided the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") with a "letter of recommendation regarding the suitability of the waterway for vessel traffic associated with the proposed facility.” Riverkeeper petitions for review of the Coast Guard’s issuance of the letter of recommendation. The Ninth Circuit held that the plain language of the Natural Gas Act permits judicial "review [of] final agency actions or orders, issuing, conditioning or denying an agency determination that has the legal effect of granting or denying permission to take some action" and because Riverkeeper did not establish that that the USCG letter of recommendation was a final agency order or action to issue a permit the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider it. DISMISSED.

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