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Berkshire-Litchfield Envtl. Council, Inc. v. Esty

Appellate Court of Connecticut

January 19, 2016

BERKSHIRE-LITCHFIELD ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL, INC.
v.
DANIEL ESTY, COMMISSIONER OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ET AL

Argued October 14, 2015.

Action for, inter alia, a judgment declaring void a certain consent order entered into by the named defendant concerning remediation of a state forest, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford and transferred to the Land Use Litigation Docket, where the court, Berger, J., granted the defendants' motion to dismiss and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

The plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment seeking to have the trial court invalidate a consent order entered into by the defendant Department of Energy and Environmental Protection concerning remediation plans for a state forest. The court determined that the plaintiff lacked standing pursuant to statute (§ 22a-16) and rendered judgment dismissing the action, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. The plaintiff claimed that the trial court improperly determined that the plaintiff's complaint failed to allege specific instances of unreasonable environmental harm caused by the defendant's having entered into the consent order and, thus, improperly concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Held that the trial court correctly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the plaintiff's action, and this court adopted that court's thorough and well reasoned memorandum of decision as a proper statement of the relevant facts, issues and applicable law.

Nicholas J. Harding, with whom was Mary Mintel Miller, for the appellant (plaintiff).

Sharon M. Seligman, assistant attorney general, with whom were Matthew Levine, assistant attorney general, and, on the brief, George Jepsen, attorney general, and Kimberly P. Massicotte, assistant attorney general, for the appellees (defendants).

Lavine, Alvord and Mihalakos, Js.

OPINION

[162 Conn.App. 479] PER CURIAM.

The plaintiff, Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing its declaratory judgment action seeking to have the court invalidate a consent order entered into between the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (department) and BNE Energy, Inc. (BNE Energy),[1] concerning remediation plans for the Canaan Mountain Wilderness Natural Area Preserve. The court found that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the action pursuant to General Statutes § 22a-16.[2]

Page 976

On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The court had concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff failed to allege specific instances of unreasonable environmental harm caused by the defendants' having entered into a consent order with BNE Energy rather than referring [162 Conn.App. 480] the issue of BNE Energy's destruction of more than 332 trees located in Canaan Mountain Wilderness Natural Area Preserve to the attorney general[3] for enforcement pursuant to General Statutes § 52-560a.[4] We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

In ruling on the defendants' motion to dismiss, the court issued a memorandum of decision that concisely and thoughtfully states the facts and applicable law. See Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council, Inc. v. Esty, 162 Conn.App. ___, ___ A.3d ___, (2014) (appendix). After examining the record and the briefs and considering the arguments of the parties on appeal, we are persuaded that the court correctly determined that it [162 Conn.App. 481] lacked subject matter jurisdiction. We, therefore, adopt the court's thorough and well reasoned memorandum of decision as the proper statement of the relevant facts, issues and applicable law. See id. No useful purpose would be served by repeating that discussion here. See, e.g., Council 4, AFSCME, AFL-CIO v. State Ethics ...


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