The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles S. Miller, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO INTERVENE
Before the court is a Motion to Intervene filed by the North Dakota Public Service Commission ("NDPSC") on July 30, 2012. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
On May 30, 2012, plaintiffs initiated what is styled as a citizens' suit under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 ("SMCRA"), 30 U.S.C. §§ 1201-1328. They assert that the NDPSC has a conflict of interest it when comes to enforcement of SMCRA in North Dakota because two of its Commissioners have accepted campaign contributions directly and indirectly from entities it regulates. They seek an order compelling the United States Secretary of the Interior to withdraw approval of North Dakota's federally approved program for exclusive regulation of all surface coal mining activities on all non-federal and non-tribal lands in North Dakota.
On July 30, 2012 the NDPSC filed a Motion to Intervene, averring that it has several cognizable interests directly relating to the subject matter of this action, that SMCRA affords its an explicit and unconditional right to intervene in this action, and that it is otherwise entitled to permissive intervention.
On July 31, 2012, plaintiffs filed a response to the NDPSC's motion. They do not oppose the NDPSC's intervention but reserve the right to contest whether the intervention should be permissive as opposed to a matter of right. They further request that the court condition the NDPSC's participation in this action as follows:
(a) The [NDPSC] shall meet and confer with counsel for Defendant prior to the filing any motion, responsive filing, or brief, to determine whether their positions may be set forth in a consolidated fashion -- separate filings by the [NDPSC] shall include a certificate of compliance with this requirement and briefly describe the need for separate filings;
(b) The [NDPSC] shall confine its arguments to the existing claims in this action and shall not interject new claims or stray into collateral issues;
(c) Memoranda of points and authorities filed by the [NDPSC] in support of or in opposition to any motion in this action shall not, without further leave of the Court and good cause shown, exceed twenty-five (25) pages, and reply memoranda shall not exceed ten (10) pages; and
(d) In the event that a motion for summary judgment is filed in this action, the [NDPSC] shall file a joint statement of facts together with the Defendant with references to the administrative record consistent with D.N.D. Civ. L.R. 7.1(A)(2) -- to the extent the [NDPSC] and Defendant cannot agree on the inclusion of particular facts in their joint statement, they may identify such additional facts in bullet-point format in their respective memoranda of points and authorities. (Docket No. 9).
On August 6, 2012, the Secretary filed a Notice of Opposition to Plaintiffs' Response to Motion to Intervene. He takes no position on the NDPSC's motion. He does, however, object to plaintiffs' response to the motion and opposes any requirement that he and the NDPSC consolidate their briefing and file a joint statement of facts.
On August 7, 2012, the NDPSC filed a reply in support of its motion. It reiterates its position that it is entitled to intervene as a matter of right. It also expresses a willingness to confer with defendant in an effort to avoid duplicative argument. However, it is adamantly opposed to the imposition of any conditions or restrictions on its participation as requested by plaintiffs.
Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the court must permit ...