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United States v. Ketchikan Pulp Co.

Citation: 7 ELR 20368
No. No. A76-245, 74 F.R.D. 104/9 ERC 1949/(D. Alaska, 03/01/1977) Intervention granted

The court grants a motion by two environmental groups to intervene as plaintiffs in an enforcement action against a pulp mill for violating applicable discharge limitations. Section 505(b)(1)(B) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 allows "any citizen" to intervene in such actions as a matter of right, and § 505(g) defines "citizen" to mean any person having an interest which is or may be adversely affected. Intervention under § 505 thus requires standing, and two local environmental groups have met this test as articulated in Sierra Club v. Morton, 2 ELR 20192 (U.S. 1972), by alleging specific injury in fact to their members. The Natural Resources Defense Council, however, has alleged only a generalized interest that is insufficient to confer standing and may not intervene unless this defect can be cured by amending the complaint in intervention. The court finds that the intervenors' motion was timely since exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a prerequisite to intervention under § 505(b). Moreover, the normally insignificant two-month interval between filing of the suit and intervenors' motion did not become sufficient to render the motion untimely simply because a proposed consent decree was filed the same day as the original complaint.

Counsel for Plaintiff
G. Kent Edwards, U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 680, Anchorage AK 99510
(907) 277-1491

John A. Hamill, William Christian
Environmental Protection Agency Region X
1200 Sixth Ave., Seattle WA 98101
(206) 442-1200

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenors
Edward L. Strohbehn, Jr.
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
917 15th St., NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 737-5000

Wilson A. Rice
Trustees for Alaska
1026 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 276-4244

Counsel for Defendant
Theodore M. Pease, Richard A. Helm
Pease & Kurtz
825 W. Eighth Ave., Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 279-2411

Douglas E. Kleiver, Daniel B. Silver
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
1250 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 233-2151