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Delaware Valley Citizens' Council for Clean Air v. Pennsylvania

Citation: 12 ELR 20295
No. No. 81-2011, 674 F.2d 970/17 ERC 1177/(3d Cir., 03/01/1982) Denial of motion to intervene aff'd

The Third Circuit affirms a district court's denial, 11 ELR 20952, of a motion by Pennsylvania legislators to intervene in a suit to compel state implementation of an automobile inspection and maintenance (I/M) program. The court rules that the state legislators may not intervene as of right under FED. R. CIV. P. 24(a)(1). Although, the citizen suit provision of the Clean Air Act, § 304, allows intervention in Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions, it only provides a right to intervene to support enforcement of the Act, not to inhibit it. Further, the legislators' interests were adequately represented by the Attorney General, who is responsible for representing the commonwealth's sovereign interests. The court also rules that the legislators' motion for intervention of right or by permission was untimely. The district court's denial was not an abuse of discretion where the original complaints were filed four years earlier and a consent decree signed over 20 months earlier, and where intervention would cause substantial prejudice to the original parties in the action since the legislators seek to revoke the consent decree. Finally, the court finds that the denial of intervention does not infringe on the legislature's constitutional right to enact legislation since it is free to and, in fact, has prohibited the use of commonwealth funds for the I/M program.

[The issues raised in this case are analyzed at 12 ELR 10027 — Ed.]

Counsel for Appellants
Myrna P. Field, Joseph W. Marshall III
Mid-Atlantic Legal Foundation
1521 Locust St., Suite 600, Philadelphia PA 19102
(215) 545-1913

Jack R. Heneks Jr., Michael T. McCarthy
353 Main Capitol Bldg., Harrisburg PA 17120
(717) 787-6933

Counsel for Appellees
Carol E. Dinkins, Ass't Attorney General; Jacques B. Gelin, Kenneth A. Reich, Maria A. Iizuka
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2753

Jerome Balter, James S. Lanard
Public Interest Law Center
1315 Walnut St., Suite 1632, Philadelphia PA 19107
(215) 735-7200

Gibbons, J. joined by Weis and Garth, JJ.