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Ohio River Valley Envtl. Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20141
Nos. No. 3:09-0149, (S.D. W. Va., 06/18/2009)

A district court held that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection may intervene in environmental groups' lawsuit challenging the DOI Secretary's approval of two amendments to the state's surface mining regulatory program. Although the goal of the state agency appears to be identical to that of the Secretary—defending his decision—it is not clear that the interests are of identical magnitude. The Secretary's interest is in defending an agency decision handed down by an unelected appointee of the prior administration. The state agency arguably has a higher interest in defending the product of the full legislative process of West Virginia. It is at least conceivable that this difference in degree of interest could motivate the state agency to mount a more vigorous defense than the Secretary.