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National Wildlife Fed'n v. Hodel

Citation: 17 ELR 21294
No. No. 86-169, 661 F. Supp. 473/26 ERC 2040/(E.D. Ky., 06/01/1987)

The court holds that trade associations representing coal mining companies are entitled to intervene as of right in a citizen suit alleging the Office of Surface Mining's and the Department of the Interior's nationwide failure to enforce the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), and plaintiffs' failure to allege specific mining operations in this judicial district mandates dismissal for lack of venue. The court first holds that certain coal mining trade associations may intervene as of right as party defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2). As mining operators, the intervenors have a significant protectable interest in the proceeding. An adverse ruling by the court would impair that interest, since it could result in enforcement actions being taken against intervenors' members. Intervenors have also made the minimal required showing of doubt as to the adequacy of representation of their interests that would be pursued by the Secretary of the Interior, since there are some issues in which the industry intervenors have taken adverse positions. The court then holds that plaintiffs have failed to satisfy the venue requirements of SMCRA § 520(c)(1). Although plaintiffs have alleged that defendants have failed to perform their mandatory duties with respect to coal mining operations in Kentucky, they have failed to specify any particular violations in this district.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
L. Thomas Galloway
Galloway & Greenberg
1835 K St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 833-9084

Counsel for Defendants
Alfred T. Ghiorzi
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2306