Living Rivers v Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Rivers appealed Director’s decision rejecting its challenge to modifications to the license of an approved mining project. The Court affirmed. It first reminded Director of his obligation to decide if a party has standing instead of assuming it and then held Rivers had standing to bring the challenge because its conservation director submitted affidavit testifying to his use of the affected area and the effects the proposed modifications on his use of the land. It affirmed the Director’s decision as Rivers’ opening brief failed to challenge the alternate ground of decision that an earlier appeal involving the same project barred challenges to the modification here and the fact that Rivers’ reply brief provided several arguments about the alternate ground and various alternative forms of relief demonstrates the inadequacy of the opening brief. The Court stated that it was troubled by its decision as the case involved significant administrative law issues that will now have to remain open.