The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has rebuffed an industry effort to remove the polar bear from the list of threatened and endangered species (In Re: Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing and Section 4(d) Rule Litigation – MDL- No. 1993, 11-5219).
Here’s an excerpt from page 3 of the opinion:
The appellate court’s task in a case such as this is a “narrow” one. Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n of U.S., Inc. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43 (1983). Our principal responsibility here is to determine, in light of the record considered by the agency, whether the Listing Rule is a product of reasoned decisionmaking. It is significant that Appellants have neither pointed to mistakes in the agency’s reasoning nor adduced any data or studies that the agency overlooked. In addition, Appellants challenge neither the agency’s findings on climate science nor on polar bear biology. Rather, the principal claim advanced by Appellants is that FWS misinterpreted and misapplied the record before it. We disagree.
Then, on page 15, the court said:
As we discuss below, several of Appellants’ challenges rely on portions of the record taken out of context and blatantly ignore FWS’s published explanations. Others, as the District Court correctly explained, “amount to nothing more than competing views about policy and science,” on which we defer to the agency. In re Polar Bear, 794 F. Supp. 2d at 69; see also Am. Wildlands, 530 F.3d at 1000 (reviewing courts must “avoid all temptation to direct the agency in a choice between rational alternatives”).
Senior Circuit Judge Harry Edwards wrote the opinion, in which he was joined by Chief Circuit Judge Merrick Grland and Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown. The court affirmed a decision by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
Editor’s note: More coming from the opinion after we’ve read it.