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Murphy Co. v. Trump

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

March 14, 2017

MURPHY COMPANY, an Oregon Corporation; and MURPHY TIMBER INVESTMENTS, LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, Plaintiffs,
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States of America; KEVIN HAUGRUD, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of Interior; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR; and U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, Defendants.

          ORDER

          MARK D. CLARKE, United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on a Motion to Intervene (#5) filed by Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon Wild, and the Wilderness Society (collectively, "intervenors"). Intervenors seek intervention as of right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), or alternatively, seek permissive intervention under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b)(2). For the reasons discussed below, the motion is GRANTED, and interveners are hereby joined as defendants to this case.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs originally filed this action on February 17, 2017. Plaintiffs' action challenges Presidential Proclamation No. 9564, 82 Fed. Reg. 6, 145 (Jan. 12, 2017). Proclamation No. 9564 expanded the boundaries of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by approximately 48, 000 acres and was issued pursuant to the President's authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906. Over 80 percent of the expanded acreage was, prior to the expansion, Oregon and California Lands ("O&C" Lands). Plaintiffs contend the Proclamation unlawfully changed its designation and accompanying statutory purpose from "permanent timber production to the park-like preservation status of a national monument." Compl., at 2, ¶ 2 [ECF No. 1.]. Plaintiffs argue this designation violated the O&C Act and exceeded the scope of the President's authority under the Antiquities Act.

         Intervenors are non-profit environmental organizations who have been actively involved in the movement to protect, preserve, and expand the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Group members have, among other things, spoken with former administration officials, public officials, and federal agencies about the planned expansion; engaged in the public comment process as it pertained to the planned expansion; and collaborated with and engaged stakeholders in an effort to better protect the land that is now part of the expanded Monument. See, e.g., Willis Decl. ¶¶ 4-18; Sexton Decl. ¶ 26; Vaile Decl. ¶¶ 9-14; Flarris Decl. ¶ 6; Culver Decl. ¶¶ 5-7. Intervenors argue that their organizations have expended a great amount of time and resources to advance the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and if plaintiffs' prayer for relief is granted, they will suffer an injury-in-fact.

         Plaintiffs do not oppose intervenors' motion. Mot. to Intervene, at 1 (ECF No. 5.). Federal defendants take no position, but "note that a change in Administration is not a factor the court should consider in ruling on a motion to intervene. . . ." Fed. Defs.' Response to Mot. to Intervene, at 2 [ECF No. 11.].

         DISCUSSION

         I. Intervention as of Right

         Rule 24(a)(2) provides in relevant part that:

On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene who . . . claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interest.

         Rule 24 is to be liberally construed in favor of the party seeking intervention, Arakaki v. Cayetano, 324 F.3d 1078, 1083 (9th Cir. 2003), because '"a liberal policy in favor of intervention serves both efficient resolution of issues and broadened access to the courts.'" Wilderness Soc'y. v. U.S. Forest Service, 630 F.3d 1173, 1179 (9th Cir.2011) (quoting United States v. City of Los Angeles, 288 F.3d 391, 397-98 (9th Cir. 2002)); see also In re Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos Human Rights Litig, 536 F.3d 980, 985 (9th Cir.2008) ("the requirements for intervention are broadly interpreted in favor of intervention").

         When analyzing a motion to intervene as of right under Rule 24(a)(2), this Court applies a four-part test:

(1) the motion must be timely; (2) the applicant must claim a "significantly protectable" interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action; (3) the applicant must be so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede its ability to protect that interest; and (4) the applicant's interest must be inadequately represented by the parties to the action.

Wilderness Soc'y, 630 F.3d at 1177 (internal citations and quotations omitted). In applying this test, "courts are to take all well-pleaded, nonconclusory allegations in the motion to intervene, the proposed complaint or answer in intervention, and declarations supporting the motion as true absent sham, frivolity or other objections." Sw. Ctr. ...


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