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Pacific Legal Found. v. Gorsuch

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20105
Nos. Nos. 81-4442, -7060, 690 F.2d 725/18 ERC 1127/(9th Cir., 10/20/1982)

The court rules that a public interest law organization and named members of the California Legislature lack standing to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) imposition of a construction ban and funding sanctions against California pursuant to the Clean Air Act for the state's failure to adopt legislation implementing a motor vehicle emissions control inspection and maintenance program. The court first rules that the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) lacks standing to assert its claims (1) to force EPA to promulgate state implementation plan (SIP) provisions remedying the inadequacies the Agency found in the state's SIP and (2) to declare the construction ban and funding sanctions unconstitutional. In these cases the organization is not action on behalf of any individuals associated with it and is not itself adversely affected by EPA's actions. Its constitutional claims against the construction ban and funding sanctions under Article IV, Section 4 and the Fifth and Tenth Amendments concern guarantees to the states, not to private organizations. PLF cannot avail itself of the citizen suit authority of §304 because it does not meet the constitutional standing requirement of Article III that it show an injury in fact to itself or others that it represents.

The court also rules that the legislators lack standing. They do not assert claims as individuals, but as members of the legislature. Therefore, they may only assert the rights of the state guaranteed by Article IV, Section 4 or the Fifth and Tenth Amendments. However, they did not allege that they represent, or have even been authorized to represent, the legislature of the state and thus lack standing. Nor does the allegation of general economic hardship resulting from EPA's action confer standing, for this is the type of generalized grievance appropriately addressed in the legislative branch of government.

Counsel for Appellants
Anthony T. Caso
Pacific Legal Foundation
455 Capitol Mall, Suite 600, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 444-0154

Counsel for Appellee
David B. Stromberg
Office of Regional Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, 2153 Mott St., San Francisco CA 94105
(415) 556-2067

Jose R. Allen
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-5290

Before WISDOM,* DUNIWAY, and NORRIS, Circuit Judges.