San Juan Citizens Alliance v. United States Department of Interior et al
ORDER: The Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge 41 filed February 20, 2014, is APPROVED and ADOPTED as an order of this court. The objections 43 of Western Energy Alliance are OVERRULED. The Motion To Intervene by Western Energy Alliance 11 filed October 7, 2013, is DENIED. By Judge Robert E. Blackburn on 9/29/2014. (trlee, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Judge Robert E. Blackburn
Civil Action No. 13-cv-02466-REB-KMT
SAN JUAN CITIZENS ALLIANCE,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, an agency of the United States,
UNITED STATES BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, an agency within the United
States Department of the Interior,
ORDER ADOPTING RECOMMENDATIONS OF
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This matter is before me on the following: (1) the Motion To Intervene by
Western Energy Alliance [#11]1 filed October 7, 2013; and (2) the related
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge [#41] filed February 20, 2014.
The proposed intervenor, Western Energy Alliance, filed objections [#43] and the
defendants filed a response [#44]. I overrule the objections, approve and adopt the
recommendation, and deny the motion to intervene.
As required by 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), I have reviewed de novo all portions of the
recommendation to which the proposed intervenor objects. I have considered carefully
the recommendation, the objections, the responses to objections, and the applicable
“[#11]” is an example of the convention I use to identify the docket number assigned to a
specific paper by the court’s case management and electronic case filing system (CM/ECF). I use this
convention throughout this order.
This case is a challenge under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the
decision of the Bureau of Land Management to withhold certain information in response
to a FOIA request submitted by the plaintiff, the San Juan Citizens Alliance (SJCA).
The SJCA sought documents known as expressions of interest (EOI) submitted to the
BLM as part of a sale of oil and gas leases announced by the BLM. As part if its
response to the FOIA request, the BLM released documents related to an EOI
submitted by Mark A. O’Neal and Associates (O’Neal). Out of the 38 pages produced,
one of these pages was O’Neal’s cover e-mail introducing the EOI. O’Neal’s client was
copied via e-mail on the EOI, and the cover page included the e-mail address of
O’Neal’s client. Under Exemption 4 of the FOIA, the BLM redacted the e-mail address
of O’Neal’s client. That e-mail address is the only information at issue in this case.
Western Energy Alliance (WEA) seeks to intervene of right under FED. R. CIV. P.
25(a)(2) or, in the alternative, it seeks permissive intervention under Fed. R. Civ. P.
25(b)(2). WEA argues that this case, as a practical matter, will impair the ability of
members of the alliance to protect their interests. The magistrate judge recommends
that the motion to intervene be denied because resolution of this case, on a very
focused issue, will not impair or impede the ability of alliance members to protect their
interests. Addressing permissive intervention, the magistrate judge concludes that
WEA does not have a claim which shares a common question of law or fact with the
claims of the plaintiff in this action. After careful de novo review, I concur with the
analysis of the magistrate judge.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED as follows:
1. That the Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge [#41] filed
February 20, 2014, is APPROVED and ADOPTED as an order of this court;
2. That the objections [#43] of Western Energy Alliance are OVERRULED; and
3. That the Motion To Intervene by Western Energy Alliance [#11] filed
October 7, 2013, is DENIED.
Dated September 29, 2014, at Denver, Colorado.
BY THE COURT:
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