BLUERIBBON COALITION PARTNER UPDATE
NEW MEXICO - NMOHVA Lawsuit Update 4
Dear BRC Members and Supporters in New Mexico,
BRC just received an email from the New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA) with a Lawsuit Update.
We've pasted NMOHVA's Lawsuit Update below. Please take a minute to read it over, and pass it along to friends, family and riding buddies.
As always, call or email if you have any questions or comments.
Public Lands Department Manager
208-237-1008 ext 107
| LAWSUIT UPDATE #4
June 19, 2013
Judge DENIES Intervener Status
We have received great news on our lawsuit challenging the Santa Fe National Forest Travel Management decision. The judge has DENIED intervener status to the "Big Green" gang who filed for intervener status in the case. United States District Judge William Paul Johnson denied a request for intervener status, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and the Sierra Club (collectively called "the Center" in the judge's decision). While denying intervener status to the green organizations doesn't have any direct bearing on the ultimate outcome of our case, it is still very big news.
In lawsuits such as ours, intervention allows a third party, called an "intervener", to join ongoing litigation. This is at the discretion of the court and is done without the permission of the original parties (NMOHVA and the Forest Service) in the lawsuit. The rationale for intervention is that a judgment in a particular case may affect the rights of nonparties, whose interests are not adequately represented by the original parties in the suit. The intervener can submit their own legal arguments to influence the judge's decision.
The judge's denial of the intervener status indicates that the judge is not favorably biased towards our opposition. It would have been very easy to grant the motion. The granting of intervener status to the environmental organizations is so common that we didn't even bother to challenge it. But the Big Green litigation machine and its horde of lawyers didn't convince the judge.
Even more interesting is the reason why the judge denied the intervener status. He essentially said that the Forest Service is already representing the green's anti-OHV viewpoint and he didn't need them cluttering up the case. Here's an excerpt from what the judge wrote:
"However, the Center also argues that the Forest Service will not adequately represent its interests, either-and this does not make sense to the Court. In designing and attempting to implement a Travel Plan which intends to curb the use of OHV on forest land, the Forest Service appears to be taking the position of environmental groups (such as the Center) voicing a concern for the environmental effect of OHV use on national forest land."
The judge goes on to explain that, "The Court is confident that the Forest Service will provide the Court with ample information and legal authority to support its position in this matter, and finds that additional briefing would not be helpful and perhaps may even distract from the issues at the center of this litigation." You can read the judge's entire Order Denying the Motion to Intervene at NMOHVA's website (www.nmohva.org).
This means that ONLY NMOHVA and the Forest Service are allowed to present their arguments in this case. The judge will base his decision on the administrative record and the arguments made by only these two parties. This is one case where Big Green will be sitting on the sidelines.
THANKS FROM NMOHVA!
So far, with your help, we are two for two! The Forest Service tried hard to keep some of the pertinent documents out of the Administrative Record. NMOHVA kept up the pressure and eventually every single document we requested was added. Now the judge has denied intervener status to the big and VERY well-funded green organizations. We still have a very long ways to go but we have made a great start. We don't have a huge war chest from big money foundations. We don't have a lawsuit-factory law firm at our disposal. NMOHVA is doing all this with only the grassroots support of our members and friends.
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