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Utah Ass'n of Counties v. Clinton

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20796
Nos. No. 00-4143, 255 F.3d 1246/(10th Cir., 07/10/2001)

The court reverses a district court decision and holds that environmental groups could intervene in a suit brought by a counties' association to have the presidential proclamation establishing the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah declared illegal. The court first holds that the environmental groups' application to intervene was timely, even though it was filed more than two years after the suit commenced. The case is not ready for final disposition, and the additional work for other parties that intervention would cause is a function of intervention itself rather than the timing of the motion to intervene. The court next holds that the environmental groups have an interest in the continued existence of the monument and its reservation from public entry, both on the basis of their financial stake in the tourism the monument has created and on the basis of their desire to further their environmental conservationist goals by preserving the undeveloped nature of the lands encompassed by the monument. The court additionally holds that the environmental groups' environmental and conservationist interests would be impaired were the monument to lose its protected status. The court finally holds that the environmental groups' interests are not adequately represented by another party to the litigation. The government's representation of the public interest generally cannot be assumed to be identical to the groups' interest merely because they both occupy the same posture in the litigation.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Susan A. Koehler
Mountain States Legal Foundation
707 17th St., Denver CO 80202
(303) 292-2021

Counsel for Defendants
Brian B. O'Neill
Faegre & Benson
90 S. 7th St., Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 336-3000

Seymour, J. Before McKay and Brorby, JJ.