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United States v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist.

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20137
Nos. No. 08-3404, (8th Cir., 06/22/2009) motion to intervene denied

The Eighth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision denying a business trade association's motion to intervene in a CWA enforcement action filed against a local sewer district by Missouri and the United States. The complaint alleges that from 2000 to 2005, the district discharged raw sewage into local waterways and otherwise violated its state-issued permits. The trade association sought to intervene in the action based on its concern that any injunction or consent decree imposed on the district might result in increased user rates and fees for its members. The association, however, lacks standing. It did not adequately allege that it would suffer a concrete and particularized injury, that its injury was fairly traceable to the challenged action, or that it would likely be redressed by a favorable decision. Nor does the association have a right to intervene under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 24(a)(1). Citizens seeking to intervene under the CWA's citizen suit provision must show that they are able to bring a private enforcement action in the first instance. Here, the group's dominant concerns about the expense of the district coming into compliance strongly suggests that it would be disinclined to file an enforcement action. Similarly, its interests are too tangential to establish a right to intervene under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 24(a)(2).

[A prior decision in this litigation can be found at 39 ELR 20123.]