Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act—Applicability of State Law

Parker Drilling Management Services v. Newton, No. 18-389

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) provides that federal law is the exclusive source of law in offshore zones on the Outer Continental Shelf (i.e., the underwater territory that is within the jurisdiction of the United States but beyond the jurisdiction of any particular state). Under OCSLA, the law of the adjacent state applies, as a matter of federal law, so long as the state law is “applicable” and “not inconsistent with” existing federal law. The Supreme Court will decide whether state law applies only to fill a gap in federal law, or whether state law applies unless preempted by inconsistent federal law.