South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Administrative Procedures Must Be Exhausted Before Appeals to Court
Description Washington state high court held that the challenge by environmental groups to state forestry regulations could not be heard until the groups exhausted the administrative procedures that must be followed when it is contended that a regulation violates the requirement of a statute.
Topic Administrative Law
Key Words Exhaustion; Rule Making; Administrative Remedies
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Several environmental groups sued, under the Administrative Procedures Act, contending that various Washington state agencies “failed to promulgate forest practice rules that advanced the environmental protection purposes and policies of the Forest Practices Act of 1974.” The groups claimed that existing regulations did not meet the standards of various statutes, were arbitrary and capricious, or lacked a sound scientific basis. The trial court dismissed the case because the plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies. The groups appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The groups failed to petition the state for rule making regarding forestry practices and, thus, failed to exhaust their administrative remedies as required before there can be judicial review of the failure-to-act claims made against the agencies. The specific regulations that were challenged also had to be challenged to the state through the administrative review process. Once those procedures where exhausted, then there may be grounds for appeal to the courts.

Citation Northwest Ecosystem Alliance v. Washington Forest Practices Board, 66 P.3d 614 (Sup. Ct., Wash., 2003)

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