§ 10-20-9. Actions against state Challenge to environmental quality standard Remand to state agency Intervention Venue.
(a) Civil actions. As hereinafter provided in this section, any city or town residing within the state or the environmental advocate may maintain a civil action in the superior court for declaratory or equitable relief against the state or any agency or instrumentality thereof where the nature of the action is a challenge to an environmental quality standard for which the applicable statutory appeal period has elapsed.
(b) Burden of proof. In any action maintained under this section, the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the environmental quality standard is substantially inadequate to protect the air, water, land, or other natural resources located within the state from pollution, impairment, or destruction.
(c) Remand; judicial review. In any action maintained under this section, the superior court, upon showing by the plaintiff of those matters specified in subsection (b), may remand the parties to the state agency or instrumentality that promulgated the environmental quality standard which is the subject of the action, requiring the agency or instrumentality to institute the appropriate administrative proceedings to consider and make findings and an order on those matters specified in subsection (b). In so remanding the parties, the court may grant temporary equitable relief where appropriate to prevent irreparable injury to the air, water, land, or other natural resources located within the state. In so remanding the parties, the court shall retain jurisdiction for purposes of judicial review to determine whether the order of the agency is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. If plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie showing, the court shall dismiss the action.
(d) Intervention. In any action maintained under this section, any person residing within the state or the environmental advocate may intervene as a party, provided that the person makes timely application to the superior court prior to the court's remand of the action as specified in subsection (c).
Any action maintained under this section shall be brought in the superior court of Providence county.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 224, § 1.)