Blue Sky Advocates v. State

In Blue Sky Advocates v. State, 107 Wn.2d 112, 727 P.2d 644 (Wash. 1986), a group of wheat farmers and citizens (Blue Sky) intervened in administrative proceedings involving site certification for a proposed coal-fired electrical generating facility. Blue Sky raised and expended substantial sums in successfully obtaining a reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions from the project. Blue Sky sued the state to recover its expenses, including attorneys' fees. Over a vigorous dissent, the Court refused to adopt the private attorney general exception. See Blue Sky Advocates, 727 P.2d at 649 and 649-52 (Dore, J., dissenting). In so doing, the Court adopted the reasoning in Alyeska Pipeline, where the United States Supreme Court determined that it was up to Congress and not the judiciary to fashion an exception to the American rule and award fees in some cases but not others. See Blue Sky Advocates, 727 P.2d at 649.