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Portland Audubon Soc'y v. Hodel

Citation: 19 ELR 20366
No. No. 87-1160-JU, (D. Or., 01/29/1988) Timber industry groups denied intervention

The court holds that a coalition of timber industry groups may not intervene as a defendant concerning plaintiffs' claim that the Bureau of Land Management violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement for Oregon timber management plans to reflect allegedly significant new information regarding the northern spotted owl. Although an adverse decision could harm the business interests of the coalition's members, intervention as of right requires that the proposed intervenor's interest relate to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action. When a suit alleges that government agencies have failed to satisfy federal statutory procedural requirements, such as those imposed by NEPA, the agencies can be the only defendants. The court holds that restrictions placed on the coalition's participation in aspects of the case for which it has been granted intervention are premature, since it is entitled to the same rights as any party under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure absent a specific reason to limit its participation.

[An earlier district court decision is published at 18 ELR 21210. The Ninth Circuit's opinion affirming this decision appears at 19 ELR 20367.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Victor M. Sher, Todd D. True
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund
216 First Ave. S., Ste. 330, Seattle WA 98104
(206) 343-7340

Michael D. Axline, John E. Bonine
Western Natural Resources Law Clinic
University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403
(503) 686-3823

Counsel for Defendant
Thomas C. Lee, Ass't U.S. Attorney
312 U.S. Courthouse, S.W. Main, Portland OR 97205
(503) 221-2101

Counsel for Intervernors
Mark C. Rutzick
Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis & Holman
3200 U.S. Bancorp Tower, 111 S.W. Fifth Ave., Portland OR 97204
(503) 228-3200