Petitioner Secretary of the Interior granted oil and gas leases to petitioner oil companies in the Norton Sound (Lease Sale 57) and Navarin Basin (Lease Sale 83) areas of the Bering Sea under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 67 Stat. 462, as amended, 43 U. S. C. § 1331 et seq. (1982 ed. and Supp. III). The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit directed the entry of a preliminary injunction against all activity in connection with the leases because it concluded that it was likely that the Secretary had failed to comply with § 810 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), 94 Stat. 2371, 16 U. S. C. § 3120, prior to issuing the leases. We granted certiorari, 476 U.S. 1157, and we now reverse.
When the Secretary of the Interior proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lease Sale 57, the Alaska Native villages of Gambell and Stebbins sought to enjoin him from proceeding with the sale, claiming that it would adversely affect their aboriginal rights to hunt and fish on the OCS and that the Secretary had failed to comply with ANILCA § 810(a), 16 U. S. C. § 3120(a), which provides protection for natural resources used for subsistence in Alaska.
The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court's ruling on aboriginal rights, although on different grounds, and reversed the ruling on the scope of ANILCA § 810. People of Gambell v. Clark, 746 F.2d 572 (1984) (Gambell I). With respect to the claim of aboriginal rights, the court assumed without deciding that the villagers once had aboriginal rights to hunt and fish in the Norton Sound,
The Court of Appeals construed the phrase "in Alaska" to mean "the geographic region, including the contiguous continental shelf and the waters above it, and not merely the area within the strict legal boundaries of the State of Alaska."
The court found support for this view in ANILCA's legislative history. But, according to the Court of Appeals, "[t]he most compelling reason for resolving the ambiguous language of Title VIII in favor of coverage of outer continental shelf lands and waters is that Title VIII was adopted to benefit the Natives." Id., at 581. The court acknowledged the familiar rule of statutory construction that doubtful expressions must be resolved in favor of Indians. See Alaska Pacific Fisheries v. United States, 248 U.S. 78, 89 (1918). It then remanded to the District Court the questions whether the Secretary had substantially complied with ANILCA § 810 in the
In compliance with the Court of Appeals' decision, the Secretary prepared a postsale evaluation of possible impacts on subsistence uses from Lease Sale 57.
In April 1985, the villages sought a preliminary injunction in the District Court against exploratory activities in Norton Sound. At the same time, the village of Gambell, joined by Nunam Kitlutsisti, an organization of Yukon Delta Natives, filed a complaint seeking to void Lease Sale 83 and to enjoin imminent exploratory drilling in the Navarin Basin. The District Court consolidated the motions for preliminary injunctions and denied them. It found that respondents had established a strong likelihood of success on the merits. Although the Secretary, in the EIS's for the Five Year Leasing Plan and for the Norton Sound and Navarin Basin Lease Sales, had evaluated in some detail the effect of OCS oil and
Accordingly, applying the traditional test for a preliminary injunction, the court concluded that the balance of irreparable harm did not favor the movants; in addition, the public interest favored continued oil exploration and such exploration in this case would not cause the type of harm that ANILCA was designed to prevent.
Respondents appealed from the District Court's denial of a preliminary injunction. The Ninth Circuit reversed. People of Gambell v. Hodel, 774 F.2d 1414 (1985)
Petitioners assert that the Ninth Circuit erred in directing the grant of a preliminary injunction. We addressed a similar contention in Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456 U.S. 305 (1982). The District Court in that case found that the Navy had violated the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), 33 U. S. C. § 1251 et seq. (1982 ed. and Supp. III), by discharging ordnance into the sea without a permit. 456 U. S., at 307-308. The court ordered the Navy to apply for a permit but refused to enjoin weapons-training operations during the application process because the Navy's "technical violations" were not causing any "appreciable harm" to the
Applying these principles, we concluded that the purpose of the FWPCA — to restore and maintain the integrity of the Nation's waters — would not be undermined by allowing the statutory violation to continue during the permit application
We acknowledged in Romero-Barcelo the important role of the "public interest" in the exercise of equitable discretion. The District Court concluded that the public interest in this case favored continued oil exploration, given OCSLA's stated policy
Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit erred in directing the issuance of a preliminary injunction.
Petitioners also contend that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that ANILCA § 810 applies to the OCS. We agree. By its plain language, that provision imposes obligations on federal agencies with respect to decisions affecting use of federal lands within the boundaries of the State of Alaska. Section 810 applies to "public lands." Section 102 of ANILCA, 16 U. S. C. § 3102, defines "public lands," and included terms, for purposes of the Act
The phrase "in Alaska" has a precise geographic/political meaning. The boundaries of the State of Alaska can be delineated with exactitude. The State of Alaska was "admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the other States," and its boundaries were defined as "all the territory, together with the territorial waters appurtenant thereto, now included in the Territory of Alaska." Alaska Statehood Act (Statehood Act) §§ 1, 2, 72 Stat. 339. The Submerged Lands Act of 1953, 67 Stat. 29, as amended, 43 U. S. C. § 1301 et seq. (1982 ed. and Supp. III), was made applicable to the State. Statehood Act § 6(m), 72 Stat. 343. Under § 4 of the Submerged Lands Act, 43 U. S. C. § 1312, the seaward boundary of a coastal State extends to a line three miles from its coastline. At that line, the OCS commences. OCSLA § 2(a), 43 U. S. C. § 1331(a). By definition, the OCS is not situated in the State of Alaska. Nevertheless, the Ninth Circuit concluded that "in Alaska" should be construed in a general, "nontechnical" sense to mean the geographic region of Alaska, including the Outer Continental Shelf.
There is a lone reference to the OCS in the statute, in § 1001(a), 16 U. S. C. § 3141(a), and it is for the purpose of ensuring that the provision does not apply to the OCS.
The Secretary suggests that Congress included the parenthetical excluding the OCS out of an abundance of caution because "North Slope" is defined in a related statute — the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act of 1976, 15 U. S. C. § 719 et seq. (1982 ed. and Supp. III) — to include the OCS. See 15 U. S. C. § 719b. Whatever the reason for caution, it is apparent from ANILCA § 1008(a), 16 U. S. C. § 3148(a), that Congress did not intend "Federal lands in Alaska" to include the OCS despite the parenthetical in § 1001(a). Section 1008(a) requires the Secretary to "establish, pursuant to the Mineral [Lands] Leasing Act of 1920, as amended [30 U. S. C. § 181 et seq. (1982 ed. and Supp. III)], an oil and gas leasing program on the Federal lands of Alaska not subject to the study required by section 1001 of this Act, other than lands included in the National Petroleum Reserve — Alaska."
Title VIII itself suggests that it does not apply to the OCS. Section 810 places the duty to perform a subsistence evaluation on "the head of the Federal agency having primary jurisdiction over such lands." Unlike onshore lands, no federal agency has "primary jurisdiction" over the OCS; agency jurisdiction turns on the particular activity at issue. See G. Coggins & C. Wilkinson, Federal Public Land and Resources Law 434 (1981).
The similarity between the language of ANILCA and its predecessor statutes, the Statehood Act and ANCSA, also refutes the contention that Congress intended "Alaska" to include the OCS. In the Statehood Act, Congress provided that the State of Alaska could select over 100 million acres from the vacant and unreserved "public lands of the United States in Alaska" within 25 years of its admission. Statehood Act § 6(b), 72 Stat. 340. Similarly, in ANCSA, Congress allowed Native Alaskans to select approximately 40 million acres of "Federal lands and interests therein located in Alaska," with the exception of federal installations and land selections of the State of Alaska under the Statehood Act. 43 U. S. C. §§ 1602(e), 1610(a), 1611. We agree with the Secretary that "[i]t is inconceivable that Congress intended to allow either the State of Alaska or Native Alaskans to select portions of the OCS — `a vital national resource reserve held by the [government] for the public' (43 U. S. C. 1332(3))." Brief for Petitioners in No. 85-1406, p. 33. Clearly, the purpose of these provisions was to apportion the land within the boundaries of the State of Alaska. The nearly identical language in ANILCA strongly suggests a similar scope for that statute.
When statutory language is plain, and nothing in the Act's structure or relationship to other statutes calls into question
This casual use of the phrase "in Alaska" in a floor debate does not carry the same weight that it does in the definitional section of the statute.
The judgment of the Ninth Circuit with respect to the entry of a preliminary injunction and the applicability of ANILCA § 810 to the OCS is reversed. We do not decide here the scope of ANCSA § 4(b). Respondents' cross-petition on this issue, No. 85-1608, is granted, the Court of Appeals' judgment that § 4(b) extinguished aboriginal rights on the OCS is vacated, and this question is remanded to the Court of Appeals for decision in light of this opinion.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE SCALIA joins, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.
Given the Court's holding that § 810 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), 94 Stat. 2371, 16 U. S. C. § 3120, does not apply to the Outer Continental Shelf, it is unnecessary to decide whether the Court of Appeals applied the proper standard in determining the
"In determining whether to withdraw, reserve, lease, or otherwise permit the use, occupancy, or disposition of public lands under any provision of law authorizing such actions, the head of the Federal agency having primary jurisdiction over such lands or his designee shall evaluate the effect of such use, occupancy, or disposition on subsistence uses and needs, the availability of other lands for the purposes sought to be achieved, and other alternatives which would reduce or eliminate the use, occupancy, or disposition of public lands needed for subsistence purposes. No such withdrawal, reservation, lease, permit, or other use, occupancy or disposition of such lands which would significantly restrict subsistence uses shall be effected until the head of such Federal agency —
"(1) gives notice to the appropriate State agency and the appropriate local committees and regional councils established pursuant to section 3115 of this title;
"(2) gives notice of, and holds, a hearing in the vicinity of the area involved; and
"(3) determines that (A) such a significant restriction of subsistence uses is necessary, consistent with sound management principles for the utilization of the public lands, (B) the proposed activity will involve the minimal amount of public lands necessary to accomplish the purposes of such use, occupancy or other disposition, and (C) reasonable steps will be taken to minimize adverse impacts upon subsistence uses and resources resulting from such actions."
"While some changes in local subsistence use and take may occur with this proposal, the probability of significant disturbance, in the form of longterm reduction of subsistence take, large-scale disruption of subsistence harvesting activities, or significant reductions in primary resources utilized for subsistence is unlikely for the region as a whole. For Savoonga, and to a lesser extent other `big sea mammal hunting' villages (Diomede, Gambell, King Island, Wales) due to a relatively greater vulnerability to oilspill events, the short-term disturbance is more likely, particularly during the peak development period." EIS 142.
A comparable EIS was drafted in 1983 for Lease Sale 83. The Secretary had also previously prepared an EIS in conjunction with his Five Year Leasing Plan.
"Refusal to enjoin the action would have ignored the `explicit provisions of the Endangered Species Act.' 437 U. S., at 173. Congress, it appeared to us, had chosen the snail darter over the dam. The purpose and language of the statute [not the bare fact of a statutory violation] limited the remedies available to the District Court; only an injunction could vindicate the objectives of the Act." 456 U. S., at 314.
The Ninth Circuit erroneously relied on TVA v. Hill. 774 F. 2d, at 1426, n. 2. It is clear that this case is similarly distinguishable from Hill.
"(a) In order to preserve for the benefit, use, education, and inspiration of present and future generations certain lands and waters in the State of Alaska that contain nationally significant natural, scenic, historic, archeological, geological, scientific, wilderness, cultural, recreational, and wildlife values, the units described in the following titles are hereby established.
"(d) This Act provides sufficient protection for the national interest in the scenic, natural, cultural and environmental values on the public lands in Alaska, and at the same time provides adequate opportunity for satisfaction of the economic and social needs of the State of Alaska and its people; accordingly, the designation and disposition of the public lands in Alaska pursuant to this Act are found to represent a proper balance between the reservation of national conservation system units and those public lands necessary and appropriate for more intensive use and disposition, and thus Congress believes that the need for future legislation designating new conservation system units, new national conservation areas, or new national recreation areas, has been obviated thereby." ANILCA § 101, 16 U. S. C. § 3101 (emphasis added).
"The principal purpose of H. R. 39 is [sic] amended and reported by the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs is to designate approximately 120 million acres of Federal land in Alaska for protection of their resource values under permanent Federal ownership and management. . . . It virtually completes the public land allocation process in Alaska which began with the Statehood Act of 1958 which granted the State the right to select approximately 104 million acres of public land; this land grant is less than 30 percent complete. The Federal land disposal process was continued by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 which granted Alaska Natives the right to select approximately 44 million acres of federal land; this process is only one-eighth complete." H. R. Rep. No. 96-97, pt. 1, p. 135 (1979).
See also H. R. Rep. No. 96-97, pt. 2, p. 89 (1979); S. Rep. No. 96-413, p. 126 (1979).
The Ninth Circuit also relied on the fact that ANILCA's subsistence provisions, as finally enacted, cover all federal lands in Alaska and that its saving clause, 16 U. S. C. § 3125, specifies that the subsistence provisions do not affect the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (FCMA), 90 Stat. 331, 16 U. S. C. § 1801 et seq. (1982 ed. and Supp. III). 746 F. 2d, at 581. Under the FCMA, the United States asserts exclusive fishery management authority in the fishery conservation zone which commences at the boundary of the coastal States and extends 200 miles from the coast. 16 U. S. C. §§ 1811, 1812(1). According to the Court of Appeals, the inclusion of the FCMA in the saving clause indicates that ANILCA applies to the OCS. However, the FCMA also applies to "anadromous species throughout the migratory range of each such species beyond the fishery conservation zone," which would include waters within the State of Alaska. 16 U. S. C. § 1812(2). Thus, there is no need to interpret "Alaska" to include the OCS in order to give meaning to the FCMA's inclusion in the saving clause.