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Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Perry

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20168
Nos. 18-15380 and 18-15475, (9th Cir., 10/10/2019)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court order directing DOE to publish four energy conservation standards in the Federal Register. Environmental groups and states argued that an agency regulation known as the error-correction rule imposed upon DOE a nondiscretionary duty to publish the standards and that its refusal to do so violated the rule. DOE asserted that the rule did not impose a nondiscretionary duty to publish because it did not explicitly divest the secretary of the discretion he would otherwise possess to withdraw a final rule prior to publication.The court found that the rule unambiguously imposed a mandatory duty that constrained whatever discretion the secretary might otherwise have possessed, and that DOE violated that duty by delaying publication of the four standards beyond the period permitted under the rule. It therefore affirmed the district court's order to publish the standards within 28 days.