Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Missouri Coalition for Environment v. State

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

July 16, 2019

MISSOURI COALITION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT and CAROLYN JOHNSON, Appellants,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI and CLEAN WATER COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondents.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COLE COUNTY The Honorable Daniel R. Green, Judge

          W. BRENT POWELL, JUDGE

         The Missouri Coalition for the Environment and one of its members, Carolyn Johnson (collectively, the Coalition), challenge the circuit court's dismissal of the Coalition's petition for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against the State and the Clean Water Commission. This Court finds the Coalition lacks standing and affirms the dismissal.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Missouri's Clean Water Commission is created by statute as a "water contaminant control agency" within the department of natural resources. § 644.021.[1] The Commission is composed of seven members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. In 2016, the General Assembly enacted House Bill No. 1713, which changed the requirements for the composition of the Commission by amending § 644.021. Prior to HB 1713, the pertinent portion of § 644.021.1, RSMo Supp. 2015 read:

All members shall be representative of the general interest of the public and shall have an interest in and knowledge of conservation and the effects and control of water contaminants. Two such members, but no more than two, shall be knowledgeable concerning the needs of agriculture, industry or mining and interested in protecting these needs in a manner consistent with the purposes of sections 644.006 to 644.141. One such member shall be knowledgeable concerning the needs of publicly owned wastewater treatment works. Four members shall represent the public.

(Emphasis added.). The pertinent language from § 644.021.1 as amended reads:

All members shall be representative of the general interest of the public and shall have an interest in and knowledge of conservation and the effects and control of water contaminants. At least two members shall be knowledgeable concerning the needs of agriculture, industry or mining and interested in protecting these needs in a manner consistent with the purposes of sections 644.006 to 644.141. One such member shall be knowledgeable concerning the needs of publicly owned wastewater treatment works. No more than four members shall represent the public.

(Emphasis added.). Both versions require all appointees be representative of the "general interest of the public." But under the amended version, "at least two members," rather than "no more than two," shall be knowledgeable about the needs of agriculture, industry, or mining and interested in protecting such needs, and no more than four members shall represent the public.

         In February 2017, the Coalition filed a petition in the circuit court for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief challenging the validity of § 644.021, as amended by HB 1713. The Coalition alleged violations of the Missouri Constitution, article III, § 23, limiting a bill to one subject and article III, § 21, limiting a bill to its original purpose. In its petition, the Coalition highlighted its participation in various Commission activities and membership in certain stakeholder groups and committees. The State filed a motion to dismiss, asserting the Coalition had not shown taxpayer standing. In reply, the Coalition conceded it did not have taxpayer standing, but argued it had standing pursuant to § 516.500. The circuit court dismissed the Coalition's petition with prejudice for lack of standing.[2] The Coalition appeals, arguing the circuit court erred in dismissing their petition.[3]

         Standard of Review

         This Court reviews the issue of standing de novo. Mo. State Med. Ass'n v. State, 256 S.W.3d 85, 87 (Mo. banc 2008). "Litigation of a claim requires plaintiffs to show that they have standing by demonstrating a personal interest in the litigation arising from a threatened or actual injury." St. Louis Cty. v. State, 424 S.W.3d 450, 453 (Mo. banc 2014) (internal quotations and emphasis omitted). When standing is resolved on a motion to dismiss, this Court assumes all of the facts alleged in the plaintiffs' petitions are true. Id.

         Analysis

         "For a party to have standing to challenge the constitutionality of a statute, he must demonstrate that he is adversely affected by the statute in question" to ensure "there is a sufficient controversy between the parties [so] that the case will be adequately presented to the court." W.R. Grace & Co. v. Hughlett, 729 S.W.2d 203, 206 (Mo. banc 1987) (internal quotations omitted) (alteration in original). Standing further requires a petitioner to demonstrate a personal stake in the outcome of the litigation, meaning "a pecuniary or personal interest directly ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.