The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today released an opinion in CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY v. NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, No. 06-71891, an administrative appeal. The panel consisted of Betty B. Fletcher, Eugene E. Siler, Jr., and Michael Daly Hawkins, Circuit Judges.
B. FLETCHER, Circuit Judge:
Eleven states, the District of Columbia, the City of New York, and four public interest organizations petition for review of a rule issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) entitled “Average Fuel Economy Standards for Light Trucks, Model Years 20082011,” 71 Fed. Reg. 17,566 (Apr. 6, 2006) (”Final Rule”) (codified at 49 C.F.R. pt. 533). Pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), 49 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 3290132919 (2007), the Final Rule sets corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks, defined by NHTSA to include many Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), minivans, and pickup trucks, for Model Years (MYs) 2008-2011. For MYs 2008-2010, the Final Rule sets new CAFE standards using its traditional method, fleet-wide average (Unreformed CAFE). For MY 2011 and beyond, the Final Rule creates a new CAFE structure that sets varying fuel economy targets depending on vehicle size and requires manufacturers to meet different fuel economy levels depending on their vehicle fleet mix (Reformed CAFE). Petitioners challenge the Final Rule under the EPCA and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 4321-4347 (2007). First, they argue that the Final Rule is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the EPCA because (a) the agency’s cost-benefit analysis does not set the. . .
SILER, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part:
I concur in the conclusions by the majority on all points, with the exception of its conclusion in Section III.A.4. I would not find that the NHTSA acted arbitrarily or capriciously in failing to adopt a backstop for a minimum level of average fuel economy. The majority admits that the EPCA does not require NHTSA to adopt a backstop. We must realize that the arbitrary or capricious standard is one that grants an agency a significant amount of deference. Its failure to adopt this backstop was not an act which ignored factors that Congress required to be taken into account. Under those circumstances, when the EPCA did not require the adoption of a backstop, I would not find that NHTSA acted arbitrarily or capriciously by failing to do so. . . .