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County of Sonoma v. Federal Housing Finance Agency

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20061
Nos. 12-16986, (9th Cir., 03/19/2013)

The Ninth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directive that prevents Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from buying mortgages on properties encumbered by liens made under property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs, which finance environmental improvements on residential properties. The state of California and several of its counties filed suit challenging the directive, claiming that FHFA should have issued a regulation to effectuate its order. The lower court agreed and ordered FHFA to complete a formal rulemaking under the APA. But FHFA's decision to cease purchasing mortgages on PACE-encumbered properties is a lawful exercise of its statutory authority as conservator of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Because the courts have no jurisdiction to review actions that FHFA takes as conservator, the court vacated the lower court's order and dismissed the case.