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Environmental Defense Fund v. Costle

Citation: 8 ELR 20782
No. No. 77-1436, 79 F.R.D. 235/12 ERC 1001/(D.D.C., 12/23/1977) Motions to intervene denied

In a suit challenging, inter alia, defendants' compliance with federal pollution control laws in approving salinity control plans adopted by states of the Colorado River Basin, the court considers four motions for intervention as of right, and in the alternative, for permissive intervention.Three of the four motions were filed by state and municipal agencies, municipalities, or publicly regulated utilities which have made the required showing of an interest which could be adversely affected by the outcome of the proceeding. These groups have not, however, shown that their interests are at odds with or will be inadequately represented by the seven member states of the Colorado River Basin, which were admitted previously as intervening defendants. The movants' right to intervene is further diminished because of the nature of the litigation; plaintiffs do not seek an adjudication of the parties' rights to basin waters but have asked only that federal approval of the basin water quality plans be vacated and new administrative proceedings begun. Movants will have an opportunity to participate in such proceedings at the earliest stages. As to permissive intervention, the court declines to exercise its discretion to admit the above parties, finding that their positions might be significantly different from that of their parent state and to that extent would prejudice the presentation of the latter. The fourth motion is made by several groups of users of basin waters, who are found by the court to have demonstrated an interest in the proceeding. The court again finds that, for purposes of intervention as of right, those interests will be adequately represented by the existing intervenors. Because, however, these entities have expressed an intent to address the question of the effect on the issues of various interstate compacts regulating basin waters, an aspect which does not appear to be a major concern of the other parties, the court grants permissive intervention to these movants for this limited purpose.

Counsel are listed at 8 ELR 20782.