Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Friends of the Earth v. Chevron Chem. Co.

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 21283
Nos. 1:94-CV-434, -580, 919 F. Supp. 1042/(E.D. Tex., 03/21/1996) Dismissed for lack of standing

The court holds that a nonprofit environmental protection corporation that failed to demonstrate compliance with its internal bylaws regarding the creation of a class of members within the corporation lacked representational standing to bring a Federal Water Pollution Control Act citizen suit against a chemical company for alleged violations of its national pollutant discharge elimination system permit. The court first notes that an organization seeking to assert representational standing must carry the burden of proving facts necessary to establish its standing. The court also notes that an environmental protection group does not have standing merely because it exists to protect the environment. The court holds that the corporation failed to establish that it possesses representational standing to prosecute this action on behalf of the aggrieved individuals who claim membership in the corporation. The court finds that the corporation failed to demonstrate compliance with its internal bylaws regarding the creation of a class of members within the corporation. As a result, the corporation cannot establish that the individuals allegedly aggrieved by the company's actions are members of the corporation, or that it has any members for that matter. The corporation failed to show that its board of directors ever took the necessary action to create a class of members to populate the corporation. Although an informal membership policy might have been appropriate for an unincorporated association, it is insufficient to establish a corporation's membership.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Bruce J. Terris, Carolyn S. Pravlik
Terris, Pravlik & Wagner
1121 12th St. NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 682-2100

Counsel for Defendant
James E. Smith
Beirne, Maynard & Parsons
First Interstate Tower
1300 Post Oak Blvd., 24th Fl., Houston TX 77056
(713) 623-0887