The Appellate Group

Friends of Great Salt Lake v. Dep’t of Envtl. Quality

Friends of Great Salt Lake v. Dep’t of Envtl. Quality, 2023 UT App 58 (Orme, J.)

Administrative Law

Promontory Point Resources (PPR) purchased a landfill near the Great Salt Lake. Shortly after, it sought a permit modification. During the public comment period, Friends of Great Salt Lake (Friends) raised concerns, but the modification was approved. Friends then petitioned the Executive Director of the Department of Environmental Quality to review the approval. The Executive Director affirmed the approval. On appeal, The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The Executive Director’s application of the clear error standard of review did not materially prejudice Friends. The substantial evidence standard of review does not impose a materially greater burden than the clear error standard.
  • Practice Tip: Appeal the final order. Here, Friends challenged the permit modification and not the final order.
  • Practice Tip: When petitioning for relief on appeal litigants should be sure to address all issues raised by the lower court. Here, the court of appeals suggests that Friends’ claim failed in part because it did not address a weakness noted by the ALJ.

Read the full court opinion