Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Douglas J. Stovall, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bower, J.
Glori Dei Filippone appeals the denial of her petition for rulemaking. AFFIRMED.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Glori Dei Filippone petitioned the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to adopt new rules regarding the emission of greenhouse gasses in Iowa. After the DNR denied the petition, she sought judicial review. The district court affirmed the DNR's denial, and now Filippone appeals.
Because Filippone failed to preserve error on her argument regarding the Inalienable Rights Clause, we do not consider it on appeal. We decline to expand the public trust doctrine to include the atmosphere. Finally, we find the DNR's denial of the petition for rulemaking was not unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, we affirm.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
On May 4, 2011, Kids vs Global Warming filed a petition for rulemaking pursuant to Iowa Code section 17A.7(1) (2011).*fn1 The petition proposed that the DNR adopt new rules restricting greenhouse gas emissions. On June 1, 2011, Our Children's Trust and Glori Dei Filippone requested to be added as petitioners.
The Environmental Protection Commission considered the petition at a June 21, 2011 public meeting, at which Filippone presented oral and written comments supporting the rulemaking petition. The commission voted unanimously to deny the petition.
On June 22, 2011, the DNR denied the petition, citing its current greenhouse gas emissions requirement. It also noted that it anticipated the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will likely be creating new standards, which might be inconsistent with the proposed rules in violation of Iowa Code section 455B.133(4). Finally, the DNR noted that adopting the proposed rules would require resources and funding to be designated to the program, and that without additional legislatively-appropriated funding, it would be unable to develop and administer the proposed rules.
Filippone filed a petition for judicial review on July 21, 2011. The district court affirmed the DNR's denial of the petition for rulemaking after finding the denial was not unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. The court also declined Filippone's invitation to expand the public trust doctrine to include the atmosphere. Filippone filed a timely appeal.
II. Scope and Standard of Review.
Iowa Code section 17A.19(10) governs judicial review of agency decision making. Burton v. Hilltop Care Ctr., 813 N.W.2d 250, 255 (Iowa 2012). We apply the standards of section 17A.19(10) to determine whether we reach the same results as the district court. Id. If the agency action has prejudiced the substantial rights of the petitioner and meets one of the criteria enumerated in section 17A.19(10)(a) through (n), the district court may grant relief. Id.
Under section 17A.19(1), our standard of review depends on the aspect of the agency's decision that forms the basis of the petition for judicial review. Id. at 256. Where the agency has been clearly vested with the authority to make fact findings on an issue, we cannot disturb those findings unless they are not supported by substantial evidence in the record before the court when that court reviewed the record as a whole. Id. If the agency has been clearly vested with the authority to make a factual determination, it follows that application of the law to those facts is likewise vested by a provision of law within the agency's discretion. Id. In those cases, we only disturb the agency's application of the law to the facts if that application is irrational, illogical, or wholly unjustifiable. Id.
An agency's decision cannot be unreasonable or involve an abuse of discretion. Iowa Code § 17A.19(10)(n); Stephenson v. Furnas Elec. Co., 522 N.W.2d 828, 831 (Iowa 1994). Unreasonableness is defined as "action in the face of evidence as to which there is no room for difference of opinion among reasonable minds, or not based on substantial evidence." Stephenson, 522 N.W.2d at 831. Abuse of discretion is synonymous with unreasonableness, and ...