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National Wildlife Fed'n v. Cotter Corp.

Citation: 12 ELR 20619
No. Nos. 80-CA-1180, -1206, 646 P.2d 393/16 ERC 2076/(Colo. Ct. App., 10/15/1981)

In an action to enjoin the unpermitted storage of radioactive waste from a uranium mill, the court holds that plaintiffs lack standing to bring a private action to enforce the state Radiation Control Act or Water Quality Control Act. Initially, the court rules that the lower court erred in dismissing the action on grounds that the county government, which was not joined as a party, was indispensable. However, the court affirms the dismissal on grounds that plaintiffs lack standing to bring a private action to enforce state pollution control statutes. Neither of the statutes creates private enforcement rights since they protect the general public through enforcement powers given to public agencies. The court reverses the judgment dismissing the state defendants' cross-claim for violation of the Water Quality Control Act since this was in effect a separate action in which all indispensable parties were before the court.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Luke J. Danielson, Robert J. Golten
National Wildlife Federation
Campus Box 401, Univ. of Colorado Law School, Boulder CO 80309
(303) 492-6552

Counsel for Defendants
A. Edgar Benton, Richard L. Schrepferman, Edmond F. Noel Jr.
Holme, Roberts & Owen
1700 Broadway, Denver CO 80290
(303) 861-7000

J. D. MacFarlane, Attorney General; Richard F. Hennessey, Mary J. Mullarkey, Richard L. Griffith
C-330 U.S. Cthse., Drawer 3516, Denver CO 80294
(303) 837-2081

Alexander, J. (joined by Enoch and Kelly, JJ.)