Kleissler v. United States Forest Service

157 F.3d 964 (1998)


D approved projects to allow private companies to harvest trees. Ps filed suit against D asserting that the agency had violated statutory requirements in approving two projects that permitted substantial tree cutting in the Allegheny National Forest. Ps sought an injunction and a declaration that approval of the projects was arbitrary, capricious, and not in conformity with the law. A motion for leave to intervene was filed by P1, a number of area school districts located near the Allegheny National Forest, including Ridgway, Bradford, Kane, Johnsonburg, and Smethport. In addition, six townships--Cherry Grove, Hamilton, Hamlin, Highland, Wetmore, and Jones--sought intervention. Timber companies also joined the motion: Brookville Wood Products, Inc., Northeast Hardwoods, Ridgway Lumber Co., Payne Forest Products, Inc., Spilka Wood Products Co., and Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group, Inc. The schools and townships by statute got a share of revenue from the logging. The timber companies either had contracts, had prior contracts and or represented members who had or would bid on timber contracts in the future. The district court reviewed the prerequisites for intervention under Rule 24(a)(2) and denied the motion as to all applicants except Payne and Spilka. In those two instances, the court determined that intervention was justified because existing contract rights would be threatened if plaintiffs prevailed. It concluded that the expectation interests were not the type of protectable interests that justify intervention as of right under Rule 24(a)(2). The court also denied permissive intervention under Rule 24(b)(2). P1’s appealed.