United States District Court, D. Oregon, Pendleton Division
GREATER HELLS CANYON COUNCIL, an Oregon nonprofit corporation, Plaintiff,
KRIS STEIN, District Ranger for the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, in her official capacity; and UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, Defendants, and MCCLARAN RANCH, INC., an Oregon Domestic Business Corporation; and WALLOWA COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Oregon, Proposed Defendant-Intervenors.
OPINION AND ORDER
PATRICIA SULLIVAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Greater Hells Canyon Council brings this action to challenge
the decision by defendants Kris Stein and the U.S. Forest
Service to reauthorize livestock grazing in the Lower Imnaha
Rangeland Analysis (“LIRA”) area, within the
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (“HCNRA”),
in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. See Compl.
(Docket No. 1). Plaintiff argues that this grazing
jeopardizes the Spalding's catchfly, a federal threatened
plant endemic to the HCNRA. The Forest Service released its
Final Environmental Impact Statement (“Final
EIS”) in March 2015, and Stein signed the LIRA Record
of Decision (“ROD”) in September 2015, thereby
reauthorizing grazing. Compl. ¶¶ 11, 81. Plaintiff
brings claims under the National Environmental Policy Act, 43
U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.; the National Forest
Management Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1600 et seq.; and
the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Act, 16 U.S.C.
§ 460gg et seq. Plaintiff seeks to vacate the
Final EIS and ROD and to remand for further administrative
Ranch, Inc. (“Ranch”) and Wallowa County
(“County”) have moved to intervene as defendants,
as of right under Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a). (Docket No. 6). The
Ranch holds grazing permits authorizing cattle grazing on
multiple allotments in the LIRA area. McClaran Decl. ¶ 3
(Docket No. 7). The majority of the HCNRA is within the
County's borders, and approximately one fourth of the
County is within the HCNRA; the LIRA area is entirely within
the County. Nash Decl. ¶ 2 (Docket No. 8).
existing parties do not oppose intervention. Mot. Intervene,
at 1 (Docket No. 6). For the following reasons, the Court
GRANTS the Motion to Intervene.
Civ. P. 24(a)(2) allows intervention of right by
“anyone” who, “[o]n timely motion, ”
“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.” This creates a four-part test for
intervention of right: (1) the applicant's motion is
timely; (2) the applicant has asserted an interest relating
to the subject property or transaction; (3) the
applicant's ability to protect that interest would,
absent intervention, be impaired by disposition of the
matter; and (4) the applicant's interest is not
adequately represented by the existing parties. County of
Orange v. Air Cal., 799 F.2d 535, 537 (9th Cir. 1986).
factor one, timeliness, “three factors are weighed: (1)
the stage of the proceeding at which an applicant seeks to
intervene; (2) the prejudice to other parties; and (3) the
reason for and length of the delay.” Id.
factor two, an interest in the property or transaction, this
“is a practical, threshold inquiry.” Sw. Ctr.
for Biological Diversity v. Berg, 268 F.3d 810, 818 (9th
Cir. 2001). “No specific legal or equitable interest
need be established. It is generally enough that the interest
asserted is protectable under some law, and that there is a
relationship between the legally protected interest and the
claims at issue.” Id. (alteration, quotation,
and citations omitted). “An applicant demonstrates a
‘significantly protectable interest' when the
injunctive relief sought by the plaintiffs will have direct,
immediate, and harmful effects upon a third party's
legally protectable interests.” Id. (quotation
factor three, impairment of interest, “if an absentee
would be substantially affected in a practical sense by the
determination made in an action, he should, as a general
rule, be entitled to intervene.” Id. at 822
(alteration omitted) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 24 Advisory Comm.
factor four, no adequate representation of interest, the
“applicant-intervenor's burden . . . is minimal: it
is sufficient to show that representation may be
inadequate.” Forest Conservation Council
v. U.S. Forest Serv., 66 F.3d 1489, 1498 (9th Cir. 1995)
(emphasis in original), abrogated on other grounds by
Wilderness Soc. v. U.S. Forest Serv., 630 F.3d 1173 (9th
A non-party is adequately represented by existing parties if:
(1) the interests of the existing parties are such that they
would undoubtedly make all of the non-party's arguments;
(2) the existing parties are capable of and willing to make
such arguments; and (3) the non-party would offer no
necessary element to the proceeding that existing parties
Sw. Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Babbitt, 150
F.3d 1152, 1153-54 (9th Cir. 1998).
defendant-intervenors have made a sufficient showing as to
each element of Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a)(2)'s ...