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BAYVIEW HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY ADVOCATES v. M.T.C.
November 9, 2001
BAYVIEW HUNTERS POINT COMMUNITY ADVOCATES, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thelton E. Henderson, Judge, United States District Court
These matters came before the Court on Tuesday, November 6, 2001, on
the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56. After careful consideration of the parties' written
and oral arguments, this Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART each of
the parties' motions as described in the discussion below.
This suit arises out of the federal Clean Air Act ("CAA"),
42 U.S.C. § 7401-7671q (2001), the history of which has been
well-documented elsewhere. See, e.g., Citizens for a Better Env't v.
Deukmejian, 731 F. Supp. 1448, 1451-52 (N.D.Cal. 1990) [hereinafter "CBE
I"]. As part of the CAA, states are required to develop, and submit to
the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") for approval, a state
implementation plan ("SIP") for achieving and maintaining National
Ambient Air Quality Standards ("NAAQS"). At issue in this case is the
portion of the California SIP applicable to the San Francisco Bay Area,
which remains a non-attainment area for the ozone NAAQS thirty years
after that standard was first promulgated. See, e.g., Approval and
Promulgation of Ozone Attainment Plan and Finding of Failure to Attain;
San Francisco Bay Area, 66 Fed.
Reg. 17,379, 17,385 (proposed Mar. 30,
2001) (documenting the Bay Area's failure to attain the ozone NAAQS for
the period 1998-2000).
Specifically, Plaintiffs in this suit challenge the implementation
status of Transportation Control Measure 2 ("TCM 2"), a measure set forth
in the 1982 Bay Area Air Quality Plan ("1982 Plan").*fn1 The remaining
Defendants in this case are the Metropolitan Transportation Commission
("MTC") and San Francisco Municipal Railway ("MUNI").*fn2
Although first submitted in 1982 and approved by the EPA in 1984, TCM 2
remains as part of the SIP. TCM 2 is defined as follows: "Support
post-1983 improvements identified in transit operator's [sic] 5-year
plans, [and] after consultation with the operators adopt ridership
increase target for 1983-1987." 1982 Plan at B-3 (Ex. A to Def. MTC's
Opening Mem.). The 1982 Plan also lists emission reduction estimates
"predicated on a 15% ridership increase. The actual target would be
determined after consultation with the transit operators." Id. Ridership
increases were expected to come from "productivity improvements," rather
than a significant growth in the size of the transit system. Id. In order
to achieve the goals of TCM 2, the Plan set forth the following four-part
• 6 major transit operators*fn3 adopt FY 1983-87
plans by July, 1982.
• MTC consults with operators on ridership
targets by Jan., 1983.
• MTC, through implementation of the TIP
[Transportation Improvements Plan] and allocation of
regional funds, seeks to ensure operators' 5-year
plans are implemented.
• Ridership gains are monitored through annual RFP
[Reasonable Further Progress] reports.
Id. Finally, the 1982 Plan describes TCM 2 as "basically an extension of
TCM #1," id., which requires "reaffirm[ation of a] commitment to 28%
transit ridership increase between 1978 and 1983," id. at B-2.
The primary dispute in this case is whether TCM 2 requires, as
Plaintiffs contend, that MTC, MUNI, and the other regional transit
operators achieve a 15% regional transit ridership increase over 1982-83
levels. Defendants argue that TCM 2 only requires them to complete the
four steps enumerated in the implementation schedule. Because the
interpretation of TCM 2 is a legal question, the parties agree that this
case is appropriate for adjudication on summary judgment.
Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to
material facts and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Toscano v. Prof'l Golfers Ass'n, 258 F.3d 978,
982 (9th Cir. 2001). Material facts are those which may affect the
outcome of the case. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A dispute as to a material fact is "genuine" if there is
sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Id. The court may not weigh the evidence and must view
the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at
A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing
the court of the basis for its motion, and of identifying those portions
of the pleadings and discovery responses that demonstrate the absence of
a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986). Where the moving party will have the burden of proof at
trial, it must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact
could find other than for the moving party. Id. at 322-323. However, on
an issue for which its opponent will have the burden of proof at trial,
the moving party can prevail merely by "pointing out to the District
Court . . . that here is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving
party's case." Id. at 325. If the moving party meets its initial burden,
the opposing party must then "set forth specific facts showing that there
is a genuine issue for trial" in order to defeat the motion.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.
At issue in this suit are Defendants' obligations under TCM 2. Before
discussing the substance of those obligations, this Court must first
address the jurisdictional matters raised by the parties.
Three criteria must be satisfied before an organization has standing
under Article III to bring suit on behalf of its members. First, the
organization's members must have standing to sue individually. Second,
the organization must be seeking to protect interests that are germane to
its purpose. Finally, neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested
must require direct participation of the organization's members in the
lawsuit. Hunt v. Washington State Apple Adver. Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 343
Here, Plaintiffs have sufficiently demonstrated that the interests
advanced in this lawsuit fall within the mission of each Plaintiff
organization. See Pls.' Opening Mem. at 11 (and declarations cited
therein). Moreover, this Court agrees with Plaintiffs that the direct
participation of individual members is unnecessary. Thus, the Court
concludes, and Defendants do not dispute, that Plaintiffs have satisfied
the second two prongs of organizational standing.
Defendant MTC argues, however, that Plaintiffs lack standing because
they are unable to satisfy the first requisite of organizational
standing, that Plaintiffs' members would have standing to sue
individually. In order to satisfy the standing requirements of Article
III, an individual must show:
(1) it has suffered an "injury in fact" that is (a)
concrete and particularized and (b) actual or
imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the
injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of
the defendant; and (3) it is likely, as opposed to
merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed
by a favorable decision.
Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc.,
528 U.S. 167, 180-81 (2000).
This Court is not so persuaded, and it finds that individual members of
Plaintiffs' organizations would have standing to sue for the following
reasons. First, it is beyond dispute, that Plaintiffs' members have
alleged injuries that satisfy the "injury in fact" requirements.*fn4
Plaintiffs claim a variety of injuries, including adverse health
effects, aesthetic injuries, and economic harm. See Pls.' Opening Mem. at
11-12 (and declarations cited therein). These alleged injuries are more
than sufficient to satisfy the first requirement for individual
standing. See, e.g., Friends of the Earth, 528 U.S. at 183
(recreational, aesthetic, and economic injuries are sufficient to confer
standing); Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc. v. United States Envtl. Prot.
Agency, 507 F.2d 905, 910 (9th Cir. 1974) (being "compelled to breathe
air less pure than that mandated by the Clean Air Act" is sufficient).
In addition, the injuries are fairly traceable to the challenged
actions of Defendants. MTC cites the SIP itself to support its contention
that TCMs have "virtually no impact" on ozone because they reduce
hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides (NOx) simultaneously. 1982 Plan at 102.
Plaintiffs cite contrary evidence that NOx reductions lead to reduced
ozone levels. Pls.' Reply at 4-5 (and citations therein). While the
precise impact of TCM 2 on ozone levels is a disputed question of fact
that this Court cannot decide on motions for summary judgment, the facts
indicate that TCM 2 has at least some, although perhaps minimal, impact
on reducing ozone.*fn5 Although perhaps not as compelling an injury as
could be imagined, this slight impact is sufficient to satisfy
traceability. See United States v. Students Challenging Regulatory Agency
Procedures (SCRAP), 412 U.S. 669, 690 n. 14 (1973) (refusing to adopt the
government's argument that standing should be limited to those who have
been "significantly" affected by agency action, instead holding that any
"direct stake," including a "trifle," is enough to establish standing).
Moreover, even if Plaintiffs could not show the required nexus between
TCM 2 and reduction in ozone levels, it is undisputed that TCM 2, through
reductions in NOx, would reduce haze and smog. See, e.g., Regional Haze
Regulations, 64 Fed. Reg. 35,714, 35,715 (July 1, 1999). Thus,
traceability is clearly met for Plaintiffs' alleged aesthetic and
economic injuries resulting from elevated levels of smog.
Finally, it is more than likely that a favorable decision for
Plaintiffs will redress their alleged injuries, thereby satisfying the
third requirement for individual standing. Plaintiffs here seek
injunctive relief to mandate that Defendants implement TCM 2.*fn6 As
discussed above, Plaintiffs' alleged injuries are fairly traceable to
Defendants' alleged failure to implement TCM 2. Thus, it goes without
question that the injunctive relief sought by Plaintiffs would alleviate
the alleged injuries. Even though Plaintiffs' injuries might not be
completely eliminated by the implementation of TCM 2, any increase in air
quality that would result from a favorable decision
is sufficient to satisfy the "minimal requirements of Article III." Pub.
Interest Research Group of New Jersey, Inc. v. Powell Duffryn Terminals,
Inc., 913 F.2d 64, 73 (3d Cir. 1990) (holding that, to
have standing, plaintiffs must only show that the injunctive relief
requested would "decrease" pollution, not that it would return a polluted
waterway to "pristine condition").
In short, individual members of Plaintiffs' organizations satisfy the
three requirements for Article III standing. Because Plaintiffs have also
satisfied the other requirements for organizational standing, this Court
rejects Defendant MTC's argument that ...