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Center for Biological Diversity v. National Highway Traffic Safety Admin.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20281
Nos. No. 06-71891, (9th Cir., 11/15/2007)

The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) its recent rule that set, inter alia, corporate average fuel economy standards for light-duty trucks, including many sport utility v ehicles (SUVs) and other vehicles. The petition of public interest groups and 13 states is granted because the rule is arbitrary and capricious and contrary to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in its failure to monetize the value of carbon emissions, its failure to close an SUV loophole, and its failure to set fuel economy standards for all vehicles in a particular weight class. Additionally, the agency's environmental assessment is inadequate because it failed to consider all environmental impacts including cumulative impacts on climate change, and a substantial question is raised regarding the potentially significant environmental impacts of the rule, which triggers full environmental impact evaluation under the National Environmental Policy Act. On the basis of this ruling, NHTSA is required to complete a full environmental review and promulgate a new rule consistent with the framework set forth in the opinion as expeditiously as possible and for the earliest model year practicable.