Monday, October 31, 2011

Challenges to Environmental Permits in Maryland

In April, I wrote of a change in the Maryland Code that altered the Maryland environmental permitting appeals procedure to give standing to not only those with a direct financial interest in the results of the permit, but to anyone who participated in a public participation process conducted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

Well, the Maryland Court of Appeals, in a September 2011 decision in Patuxent Riverkeeper v. Maryland Department of the Environment, et al. has given effect to this amendment by holding that environmental advocacy groups such as the Plaintiff, Patuxent Riverkeeper, can challenge actions by the MDE to grant permits because “its member…had alleged sufficient harm to his aesthetic, recreational and economic interests in connection with the issuance of the non-tidal wetlands permit in issue.” Id. at p. 3

As I previously suggested, and especially now that the Court has upheld this change in the law regarding standing to challenge permits, applicants should consider how to work with local citizens and other interested groups before requesting a permit. Working things out with affected stakeholders can be more cost-effective than litigation and produce better results.

1 comment:

  1. Glad that the MD Code was amended to include a broader definition of legal standing. A personalized, direct, injury-in-fact should not be limited to include only impacts on financial interest but also the non-financial interests, such as aesthetic and recreational interests. The MD Code is now complying the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 case, United States v. SCRAP, whereby the Court found SCRAP to have standing based on aesthetic injury (the members of SCRAP would be saddened to see less recycling and, thus, more trash in the environment as a result of less favorable shipping rates for recycled goods). Comment by A.Ivanov